12 States Ban Sodomy A Decade After Court Ruling
A dozen states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books 10 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled they are unconstitutional.
One such state is Louisiana, where gay rights groups contend police have used anti-sodomy laws to target gay men. But state lawmakers sided with religious and conservative groups in refusing to repeal the law last week.
Of 14 states that had anti-sodomy laws, only Montana and Virginia have repealed theirs since the Supreme Court ruling, said Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights organization.
Warbelow says that in addition to Louisiana, anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
The Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 that it is unconstitutional to bar consensual sex between adults, calling it a violation of the 14th Amendment.
Last year, police in East Baton Rouge Parish arrested gay men for attempted crimes against nature using the anti-sodomy law in a sting operation that caused a national outcry. The district attorney wouldn’t bring charges against the arrested men, saying the law was unenforceable.
This led Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, to file the bill that would repeal Louisiana’s anti-sodomy law, saying it would make the system fairer and more efficient.
"We don’t need inefficient laws on the books," she said.
Her fellow representatives, however, disagreed and voted 66-27 on April 15 to keep the law in place.