Today, in an overwhelming 66-27 vote, the Louisiana House of Representatives planted their flag firmly on the wrong side of history, rejecting a measure that would have repealed the state's unconstitutional and unenforceable sodomy law.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:
Louisiana's anti-sodomy law was overturned and declared unconstitutional in 2003, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling such state statutes could not be enforced. Still, the Legislature has been unwilling to officially strike the measure from state law, even though it can't be used as a cause for arrest.
A House Committee passed the legislation onto the body's floor by a vote of 9-6 last week. But one of the state's most powerful lobbying groups, the conservative Christian Louisiana Family Forum, opposes striking the sodomy ban...
Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith, a Democrat who represents Baton Rouge, said she brought the bill, in part, because of those arrests, which drew negative national attention to her community. "We want to be fair to the law enforcement individuals. ... We don't need inefficient bills on our statutes that they cannot take to a prosecutor," said Smith during a committee hearing last week.
As we reported here at Bilerico, Louisiana's unconstitutional sodomy law came to national attention last summer when sheriff's deputies in East Baton Rouge Parish cited it as justification for the entrapment, arrest, and booking of gay men in undercover sex stings, for the "crime" of consensual adult sexual activity at a private residence. The scandal was a major embarrassment for the department, the district attorney refused to press charges, and anti-gay Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux III ended up bowing to pressure and apologizing for his deputies' malicious and unconstitutional harassment of gay men.
But apparently, Louisiana just loves legalized homophobia too much to let it go. Shame.
Louisiana isn't the only state with an unenforceable sodomy law on the books, though: a handful of other states including Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, both Carolinas, Utah, and Texas still have theirs as well.