Louisiana Sheriffs Still Arresting Gay Men for Law Declared Unconstitutional
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down anti-sodomy laws a decade ago, but one sheriff in Louisiana is still arresting people for the non-crime.
In the past two years, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office has arrested at least 12 men for sodomy, otherwise known as homosexual sex. All of the defendants were approached by Sheriff’s deputies working undercover who asked the men if they wanted to have consensual sex.
Louisiana’s anti-sodomy law, which is still on the books, was invalidated along with others like it when the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas back in 2003. None of the dozen arrested were prosecuted by District Attorney Hillar Moore III because no crime was committed.
When asked about the arrests, a Sheriff’s spokesman said that as long as the law was still in the criminal code, deputies were obligated to enforce it.
“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,” Casey Rayborn Hicks, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, told The Baton Rouge Advocate. “Whether the law is valid is something for the courts to determine, but the sheriff will enforce the laws that are enacted.”
Advocates for civil rights and the LGBT community expressed outrage after learning about the arrests.
Following the publication of The Advocate’s story, the Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying: “To our knowledge, the Sheriff’s office was never contacted or told that the law was not enforceable or prosecutable.”
A local politician, Metro Councilman John Delgado, rejected the Sheriff’s argument.
“Does he know that slavery is no longer around?” Delgado told The Advocate. “Does he know that we have cars and no longer horse and buggies?”
To Learn More:
Gays in Baton Rouge Arrested under Invalid Sodomy Law (by Jim Mustian, Baton Rouge Advocate)
Sheriff Claims He Didn't Know Anti-Sodomy Laws Weren't Valid Anymore (by Lucas Grindley, Baton Rouge Advocate)
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