Daniel Redman explains:
In 1983, New York's high court struck down as unconstitutional a 1960s-era provision that made it illegal to cruisethat is, to hit on someone in a public place. [...T]he court's ruling should have killed off the statute. Instead, in the 26 years of this law's odd posthumous career, district attorneys brought 4,750 prosecutions and judges convicted 2,550 defendants. For violating an imaginary law, these defendants paid a decidedly non-imaginary $70,000 in bail and $190,000 in court fees and fines. In the last 10 years, NYPD officers also issued 9,693 citations, forcing citizens to pay $71,000 in fees. The criminal records of these victims have never been expunged and the fees and fines have not been refunded.
It's a good revenue raiser - because most people pay the fine for fear of being exposed. Every now and again, it's worth remembering that beneath the veneer of increasing gay acceptance, in many places in America, the attitudes and policies of the 1950s linger on - especially in law enforcement.