Gays in Baton Rouge Arrested Under Invalid Sodomy Law
From the Advocate:
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.
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. And the count against the man was based on a part of Louisiana’s anti-sodomy law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court a decade ago.
The July 18 arrest is among at least a dozen cases since 2011 in which a Sheriff’s Office task force used the unenforceable law to ensnare men who merely discussed or agreed to have consensual sex with an undercover agent, an investigation by The Advocate has found.
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,” Renn said. “This is basically like the police putting up a sign that says ‘Please sue me.’ ”
In 2003, in Lambda Legal's landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all remaining state sodomy laws in the country in its Lawrence v. Texas decision.
Read the full article here.
Learn more about Lawrence v. Texas here.
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