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Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office still prosecuting gay men for crimes under invalid law

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court invalidating same-sex sodomy laws in 2003, at least a dozen cases have been brought against gay men in Baton Rouge, La. since 2011 reports the local Advocate. The stings, which have largely targeted middle-age men in and around Manchac Park, were not only found to be illegal by the local district attorney’s office but part of a concerted effort to entrap men and enforce laws that are no longer valid. District Attorney Hillar Moore III was quoted as saying, “The Sheriff’s Office’s intentions are all good, but from what I’ve seen of these cases, legally, we found no criminal violation.” For their part, the Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, Casey Rayborn Hicks, added, “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.”

The problem, of course, is that sodomy laws or, in Louisiana parlance, ‘unnatural carnal copulation,’ are already invalid and have been for more than ten years.

Bruce Parker of Equality Louisiana is outraged. “It is frustrating that the police are using their resources to pursue issues like this and arrest people for attempting to pick someone up and go home with them. It’s perfectly legal, and we would have to close down every bar in Baton Rouge if that weren’t the case.”

But despite claims by the Sheriff’s Department that rampant cruising by older men has created an intolerable environment for families and young people, Cheryl Michelet, a spokeswoman for the Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission, said the parks have “not had a number of complaints on this issue.”

Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor, has remained silent on the subject.

 



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Posted by on Jul 31, 2013. Filed under Around the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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