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Since 2011 the Baton Rouge, LA Sheriffs Department has arreseted dozens of gay men under Louisiana’s sodomy and crime against nature statute — R.S. 14:89, the  1805 law that includes language banning “the unnatural carnal copulation by a human being with another of the same sex or opposite sex.” and was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, a ruling that prompted Louisianna’s then-state Attorney General Richard Ieyoub to issue a statement saying the state’s anti-sodomy law would be unenforceable except for provisions banning sodomy for compensation. (i.e. prostitution)

In the latest arrest, July 18th. an undercover East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy was staking out Manchac Park about 10 a.m. The deputy struck up a conversation with a 65-year-old man and, after denying being a cop, deputy propositioned his target with “some drinks and some fun” back at his place. After following the deputy to a nearby apartment, the man was handcuffed and booked on a single count of attempted crime against nature.

There had been no sex-for-money deal between the two. The men did not agree to have sex in the park, a public place. But the man was still arrested and the charge brought against him was based on a part of Louisiana’s anti-sodomy and crimes against nature law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court a decade ago.

So how could this happen?

According to Casey Rayborn Hicks, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman “This is a law that is currently on the Louisiana books, and the sheriff is charged with enforcing the laws passed by our Louisiana Legislature,” Hicks said. “Whether the law is valid is something for the courts to determine, but the sheriff will enforce the laws that are enacted.”

And why is the struck down law still on the books?  

Because the Louisiana State legislature has never gotten around to amending and  removing “consensual sex” either out of ineptness or on purpose.

“It’s really unfortunate that police are continuing to single out, target, falsely arrest and essentially ruin the lives of gay men in Baton Rouge who are engaged in no illegal conduct,” said Andrea J. Ritchie, a civil rights attorney.

Peter Renn, an attorney with Lambda Legal, the prominent gay rights organization, said the pattern of “unlawful arrests over multiple years” suggests authorities are using the stings as a means to harass gay men. The fact that this has been going on for a two-year period is unbelievable.”

And while the city of Baton Rouge wastes time and resources harassing gay men.  Current statistics show that Baton Rouge’s crime rate is almost double that of New Orleans.

Perhaps we should start calling Baton Rouge, Little Russia.

Source:  The Advocate

 

 

About the author

Will Kohler has written 6652 articles on this blog.

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

3 Comments

  1. Perhaps even better… perhaps we arrest the ones manning the Baton Rouge, LA Sherriff’s Department… for unconstitutional activities, and thus illegal activities, and thus being guilty of unlawful activities!

    Were sodomy laws have been declared unconstitutional it is stunning that Sherrif’s Departments are still enforcing such laws!

    Either they are too stupid to be able to read, and thus don’t belong in a position to endorse and enforce laws (something I would not put pass them to be honest in regard to intelligence but that’s another matter), or they did not read the documentation that is delivered to them by the Department of Justice and or the Information Service of the Supreme Court, and then also they are unworthy to be in the position they are in!

    Anyway, isn’t it shocking to see that in America of 2013 police officers are endorsing and enforcing laws that were created in a time when there were people at the helm who were so limited in their knowledge (aka intelligence) that they made laws up to prevent sexual activities that were obviously normal between people?

    Because, why would one make a law against sodomy when there is no sodomy practiced? One does not make a law against bankers who fraud their bank when there’s no practice of bankers frauding their bank… is there?
    Neither does one make a law against screaming fire in a theater IF no one screams fire in a theater……….. So, in other words, sodomy was normal in those days, and some puritan individual thought it to be unnatural and thus created a law… so it happened a lot………. Logic?

  2. Cate says:

    Does the state law need to be stuck down separately in state supreme court? Confused…..do you have more links?

  3. I believe ten states still have sodomy laws on the books although only gay and bisexual men are systematically targeted. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Lawrence vs. Texas case only struck down the sodomy law in Texas or so I was told by the manager of the ACLU office in Raleigh, NC. State legislators are proud of these laws which they brand as government protection against what they perceive as immorality. (One of Scalia’s tired, silly arguments.) Not surprisingly, a majority of the ten holdouts are in the South; homophobia is popular here. The scenario as reported in Baton Rouge is repeated in NC every day. With the Lawrence precedent, it’s likely that the sodomy laws could be overturned in NC if only someone would litigate. Therein lies the problem. Gay and bisexual men are so fearful of a public trial with the attendant press coverage, harassment, threats to life and property, that they won’t take the state to court. One can understand why. It’s a Catch 22. Certainly, no state legislator in NC would ever propose repeal of the state’s sodomy laws. That would be political suicide. Sad but true. Thanks to Will Kohler for the article.

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