The Louisiana House just voted to keep a law on the books that makes sex between people of the same gender illegal. The vote to continue oppression against the LGBT community was 67-27, with 11 members not voting. Anti-sodomy laws were found to be unconstitutional more than a decade ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003′s landmark Lawrence v. Texas case.
Democratic Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith tried to pass the bill to remove the anti-sodomy law from books after the sheriff’s department of Louisiana’s East Baton Rouge Parish was actually caught using the law to arrest gay men in sting operations. At least 12 men were arrested, some jailed, merely for having consensual sex.
Initially, the Sheriff’s Department defended the stings and arrests using the unconstitutional law. “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,” a Sheriff’s Dept. spokesperson had 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.”
Later, the Sheriff’s Office apologized and even tried to get the law removed, to no avail.
WBRZ reports that Republican Rep. Valarie Hodges opposed revoking the anti-sodomy laws “saying the law protects children and upholds morality.”
Meanhile, the Blog of New Orleans reports that GOP Rep. Valarie Hodges voted against revoking the anti-sodomy law because “yesterday was Passover and Friday is Good Friday.”
“This has been on the Louisiana law books for nearly 200 years,” she said. “Just because we decriminalize something doesn’t make it right. … We’re not here to rubber stamp the Supreme Court. … We’re here to uphold the law of what’s right and wrong.”
Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, considered a contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, is believed to support the sodomy laws, regardless of their unconstitutionality, and would not sign a law revoking them.
Seventeen states still have anti-sodomy laws on their books.
Yesterday, the Louisiana House voted to make the Christian Holy Bible the official state book. And last week the nation learned that a Louisiana U.S. Congressman was filmed kissing a staffer who was not his wife.
For local Louisiana readers, the Times-Picayune has a list of how the Reps. voted.
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