One State Is Still Enforcing Its Anti-Sodomy Law

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An investigation by The Advocate revealed a Baton Rouge sheriff's office has been arresting gay men after they've agreed to consensual sex with another man that does not involve any money changing hands. They're arresting them for having gay sex, essentially, because they're one of the few sheriff's offices enforcing a law thrown out by the Supreme Court ten years ago. 

A task force with the East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's office that's supposed to police prostitution and child predators have performed these stings on gay men at least a dozen times since 2011, The Advocate discovered. The District Attorney's office has refused to prosecute any of the cases so far, citing the Supreme Court's 2003 decision throwing out anti-sodomy laws. Despite the fact that anti-sodomy laws are illegal, the sheriff's office defended the task force operations

“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,” Hicks said. “Whether the law is valid is something for the courts to determine, but the sheriff will enforce the laws that are enacted.”

Louisiana is one of a few remaining states that still has an anti-sodomy law on the books. Idaho, Utah, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas all have some form of anti-sodomy laws.

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Despite the obvious legal advances the battle for equal rights has taken in the last few months, things are getting worse in at least one state. Here in Louisiana, the police are still actively doing something about it

Virginia recently had their anti-sodomy law officially voided by a federal court. But Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is campaigning for governor around challenging the federal court's decision. That isn't going very well, though. 

[Image: a gay couple celebrating the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Prop 8 in California.] (Correction: the headline and some of this piece have been modified.)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.