(Updated) Louisiana Is Officially More Progressive Than Virginia
East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux, the sheriff in charge of the task force
The Advocate broke a story over the weekend about a Baton Rouge, Louisiana sheriffs office that had been conducting stings on gay men using out-of-date sodomy laws over the last 10 years. The story is compelling – several of the cases presented by the Advocate paint a picture of a backwoods police office ‘stringing up the gays’ publicly -
An undercover East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy was staking out Manchac Park about 10 a.m. one day this month when a slow-moving sedan pulling into the parking lot caught his attention. The deputy parked alongside the 65-year-old driver and, after denying being a cop, began a casual conversation that was electronically monitored by a backup team nearby.
As the two men moved their chat to a picnic table, the deputy propositioned his target with “some drinks and some fun” back at his place, later inquiring whether the man had any condoms, according to court records. After following the deputy to a nearby apartment, the man was handcuffed and booked into Parish Prison on a single count of attempted crime against nature.
The above case is one of about a dozen “crimes against nature” the same sheriffs office has charged gay men with since 2011, all through a secret task force conducting sting operations in public parks.
Thankfully, the state’s attorney office refused to prosecute any of the sodomy cases brought up, saying those arrested actually broke no law.
And in a follow up piece, the sheriff’s office had the audacity to say they thought the sodomy law was still in place, and that they were just doing their job:
The East Baton Rouge sheriff who used Louisiana’s defunct anti-sodomy law to arrest a dozen gay men since 2011 now says he didn’t know the law was invalidated by the Supreme Court.
“To our knowledge, the Sheriff’s office was never contacted or told that the law was not enforceable or prosecutable,” a statement from the Sheriff’s Office claims.
(And then my head exploded)
Thankfully, City Council members from Baton Rouge have started to go after this sheriff’s secret task force and is demanding the office apologize to each of the men they prosecuted under the sodomy law. Metro Councilman John Delgado went as far as throwing the sheriff’s awful excuse back in his face:
“Does he know that slavery is no longer around?” an outraged Delgado told The Advocate newspaper in Louisiana. “Does he know that we have cars and no longer horse and buggies?”
Look at that. A state’s Attorney General… in Louisiana… saying he wont prosecute sodomy charges…. and the local city council is asking the sheriff to apologize for the wrong they’ve done. That must be nice.
Mean while, here in Virginia…
Attorney General and Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Cuccinelli is working his damnedest to rationalize his commitment to these out-of-date laws.
I’m going to try to lay this out as simply as possible: VA’s sodomy laws are an example of lazy law making.
Lets start with the basics: Lawrence v. Texas deemed sodomy laws unconstitutional. why? Because the actual verbiage of the law deals with consensual sex acts between adults in the privacy of their own home and the Supreme Court ruled against criminalizing these laws. Here’s the sodomy law via VA’s legal database:
A. If any person carnally knows in any manner any brute animal, or carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth, or voluntarily submits to such carnal knowledge, he or she shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, except as provided in subsection B.
So why is VA’s sodomy law so bat-shit nuts? Because its not even being used properly! The recent case that over turned VA’s sodomy laws dealt with an of-age man having oral sex with a 17-year-old girl – nowhere in the law is the word “minor” even mentioned.
Editors Note: Some of the previous listed Bills were inaccurately attributed to solving the state’s sodomy issue, the correct bill and information has been inserted.
The state legislature should have, and EVEN HAD THE CHANCE to fix these laws back in 05 when the GA had a bill before the senate to address the issue. Here’s the bill:
Sexual offenses; penalties. In order to comply with Lawrence v. Texas, 123 S. Ct. 2472 (2003), the bill repeals the statute making fornication a Class 4 misdemeanor and amends the lewd and lascivious behavior statute to specify that the behavior is illegal when performed in a public place. Without repealing the existing crimes against nature statute, the bill proposes a new statute that will ensure that such behavior is illegal when committed in a public place. The bill also amends certain statutes dealing with prostitution and sexual crimes against juveniles to ensure that if there is a court decision rendering the crimes against nature statute invalid, the behavior will still be illegal if committed with a child, if done in public or if done in connection with prostitution.
It was all laid out plane and simple – crisis averted, lets move on. But no, it failed to make it out of committee and was left with no action. And (trumpet please) Cuccinelli and his running mate for Attorney General, Mark Obenshain, both voted against the bill.
So VA Lawmakers, get your act together. When Louisiana treats its gay better than the ol’ Commonwealth, it paints a grim picture.
Tim is a writer, video game nerd, and music fan. You'll see him at shows, or you wont really see him at all.
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