Lawmakers have been unwilling to strike down the measure for over ten years, despite it being declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003.
The outdated law came under national scrutiny last summer when deputies of the East Baton Rouge Parish used it to arrest men who agreed to have sex with undercover male police officers. The District Attorney ultimately declined to prosecute the men because he had no legal standing to do so. Sid Gautreaux, the sheriff who ordered the arrests, later offered a half-hearted apology.
The initiative to keep the law on the books was spearheaded by the Louisiana Family Forum, one of the largest conservative lobbying firms in the state, which characterizes itself as a “voice for traditional families.”
“Louisiana’s anti-sodomy statute is consistent with the values of Louisiana residents who consider this behavior to be dangerous, unhealthy, and immoral,” the forum said in a letter.
“This has been on the Louisiana law books for nearly 200 years,” State Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, said. “Just because we decriminalize something doesn’t make it right. … We’re not here to rubber stamp the Supreme Court. … We’re here to uphold the law of what’s right and wrong.”
Keeping an outdated, unconstitutional, unenforceable law on the books for symbolic purposes… How’s that for small government?