Gay Men Arrested with Unconstitutional Sodomy Law in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

| by Michael Allen
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In East Baton Rouge, La., a sheriff’s office task force has been performing sting investigations in parks that target gay men under Louisiana’s "crime against nature" law.

According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, at least a dozen gay men have been arrested in East Baton Rouge for agreeing to have sex with undercover officers, but not for money.

Louisiana’s "crime against nature" law, R.S. 14:89, was written in 1805. The law bans “the unnatural carnal copulation by a human being with another of the same sex or opposite sex.”

However, all U.S. laws against sodomy have been invalid since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling, which made same-sex sexual activity legal in every state.

That means the sodomy ban in R.S. 14:89 is unconstitutional, but Louisiana has not repealed the law because conservatives claim it would lead to child abuse and the spread of disease.

District Attorney Hillar Moore III  is refusing to prosecute the cases because no criminal violations have occurred.

However, East Baton Rouge sheriff’s office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks recently stated: "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. Whether the law is valid is something for the courts to determine, but the sheriff will enforce the laws that are enacted ... The issue here is not the nature of the relationship but the location. These are not bars. These are parks. These are family environments."

“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 civil rights attorney Andrea J. Ritchie to the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate