La. Cops Still Busting Men ... Using Invalid Sodomy Law

Baton Rouge sheriff claims he didn't know it was unconstitutional

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 29, 2013 3:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – News of the landmark 2003 Supreme Court case that struck down anti-sodomy laws has taken an exceptionally long time to reach law enforcement in Baton Rouge, La. In at least a dozen cases since 2011, including one this month, men have been arrested under a state law banning "unnatural carnal copulation" after agreeing to have consensual sex with undercover officers, the Advocate reports. The arrested men agreed to have sex at a private residence, not in the park where they were approached, and there was no discussion of money changing hands.

The district attorney did not prosecute any of the cases, and after news of the arrests caused an outcry, the sheriff's office issued a statement saying it "was never contacted or told that the law was not enforceable or prosecutable." That excuse wasn't good enough for a city councilman, who calls the arrests "despicable, offensive, hateful, bigoted," and says the arrested men are owed an apology from the sheriff. "Does he know that slavery is no longer around?" he asked. "Does he know that we have cars and no longer horse and buggies?"

The arrests are "basically like the police putting up a sign that says 'Please sue me,'" a gay rights lawyer says.   (Shutterstock)
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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. - Andrea J. Ritchie, a civil rights attorney.

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