Louisiana Police Arresting People for Being Gay?

Hello once again readers, it’s hot, it’s humid, there is no wind, no rain and it’s dashed unpleasant, but fortunately Wagner is currently taking my mind off of the uncomfortable meteorological conditions – it’s not quite the right music for writing, I do feel like I should be invading somewhere, but no matter. I was recently browsing my facebook newsfeed, as everyone knows that there is no better place to acquire information regarding current events than facebook, how else would I know that a friend I haven’t spoken to in years has just baked a cake? However, among the extraneous gumff, I stumbled upon a rather interesting, and equally alarming, article on the “Think Progress” website shared by one of my friends. For those interested, I shall include a link to the article at the end of the post.

New York Police Arresting a Gay Man c.1960 Image credit – Think Progress blog

Essentially the State of Louisiana never repealed its laws against sodomy, and has been able to arrest people who are looking for consensual gay sex. It should be noted that this is not a new case, and according to the article, there have been at least a dozen arrests since the beginning of 2011, despite the law being, in the words of Casey Rayborn Hicks, the Baton Rouge Sheriff Office’s Spokesperson, the law is “unenforceable”. In fact it’s more than that, the law’s across the U.S.A. regarding the illegality of sodomy were ruled unconstitutional in 2003 by the United States Supreme Court, following the Lawrence vs. Texas case.

Nonetheless, the law remains in place in Louisiana and is used to arrest men who consent to sex. Whilst none of the men arrested have been prosecuted, they have been held in police custody and fined for nothing more than agreeing to private, consensual sex. It should also be noted that in none of these cases has there been any transfer of money and all sexual activity was to take place in private accommodation.

However, the law has been defended by the Sheriff’s office on the grounds that invitations for sex took place in a public park, despite the activity taking place elsewhere and no laws being in place to prohibit the discussion of sexual activity in public places. Spokesperson Hicks said in a statement, “This is a law that is on our books and the Sheriff is charged with enforcing the laws passed by our Louisiana legislature.”

In the aftermath of the Lawrence vs. Texas case, former Attorney General for Louisiana Richard Ieyoub stated that the anti-sodomy laws could not be enforced except for cases of prostitution and bestiality. However the law remains in place and is continually attempted to be enforced by Louisiana sheriffs. A similar law is also still in place in Michigan and is just as unenforceable, yet it has still not been repealed.

It strikes me as quite unbelievable that a law, deemed both unconstitutional and unenforceable by the Supreme Court and by State Attorneys General respectively can still be kept in force and defended so fervently by state authorities. The U.S.A., the supposed land of the free, is once again demonstrating that it is anything but that. A nation so proud of its freedoms and democracy being so ready to deny people their basic civil liberties seems absurd, but some how, I am not surprised in the slightest.

The U.S.A. does have a bit of a track record on cases regarding the civil liberties of its people, but let’s not go into that, I’d be here all night, but the invasion of people’s sexual privacy in what is a constitutionally secular country just stinks. It sadly appears that the US is stepping backwards, and unless the Federal Legislature can step in, I fear that will become an invitation to strengthen such laws.

To have this following the downward spiral of the Russian Federation’s take on LGBT individuals’ rights really is a crippling knock to the international LGBT community and to civil rights as a whole. With Russia’s laws becoming even more crazy and homophobic, “Gay Immigration” has seen a huge increase, with individuals moving in their thousands to countries like the United States, yet how can they rest easy there knowing that some states will still arrest, humiliate and fine you, using archaic laws, for the exercising of the very civil liberties you moved there to retain?

It is a sad day, when the state, especially in this day and age, feels it has the right to peer into people’s private lives, their love lives and their bedrooms. It may sound sentimental, but a bedroom is a symbol of privacy and security; when one is upset or just wants to be alone, or even wants to be intimate with someone, they go to their room, because it is private. If our governments are snooping around our bedrooms, where else can we go?

The entire thing stinks, and there are likely a lot of reasons for it, however, I cannot help feeling that the overriding issue here is that of religion and its prevalence in the process of government, but that is a topic for another post I fear, so that will likely be coming soon. However, as usual please feel free to continue the debate in the comments, ask questions, etcetera, and I shall see you all again soon.

Thanks for reading.

 

Post Script- Link as promised http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/07/28/2366811/louisiana-sodomy-law-arrests/

 

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