Appeals court upholds La.'s 197-year-old law against oral, anal sex

Associated Press

Nov. 22, 2002 12:05 PM

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana's 197-year-old sodomy law does not discriminate against gays and lesbians, a state appeals court ruled.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled 2-1 on Wednesday against a gay advocacy group, leaving Louisiana's sodomy law intact.

"This decision continues to put Louisiana outside the mainstream," said John D. Rawls, an attorney for Louisiana Electorate of Gays and Lesbians Inc., which challenged the law.

"We are still the only state whose courts deny a right to privacy to its citizens, we are still the only state whose courts have upheld sodomy laws, we are still back in the 18th century unfortunately," he said.

The state Supreme Court ruled that the law against oral and anal sex does not violate the right to privacy, based on a state appeal. But plaintiffs had asked the appeals court to consider the trial judge's ruling that the law does not amount to unconstitutional discrimination.

The dissenter on the appeals court, Judge Charles R. Jones, had not released his opinion by early Friday. The other two judges, Joan Bernard Armstrong and David S. Gorbaty, said the plaintiffs brought no evidence that the "crime against nature" law discriminates against gays and lesbians.

"In the trial case, discriminatory purpose by the lawmaking body was not given," the opinion said.

The appeals court also sided with the trial judge in not letting witnesses testify as to the harmful effects of the law on gays and lesbians.

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