A lawsuit filed last month revealed that at least 19 people are still required to register as sex offenders due to past convictions under South Carolina’s “buggery” law for having consensual gay sex.
The SC law, along with other states’ anti-sodomy laws, were made invalid in 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Texas’ anti-sodomy law was unconstitutional. While pardons were granted for those targeted by the laws, the convictions still require them to remain on the sex offenders list in South Carolina and two other states — Mississippi and Idaho.
The lawsuit was filed by one of the men, who was convicted, along with his partner, in 2001 under the “buggery” law. His pardon came in 2006, but his life continues to be plagued by his status as a registered sex offender.
Twice a year, he’s required to report to the sheriff’s office and give detailed information about his life — his address, employment status, vehicle information, fingerprints, palm prints, and every online account he uses. At one point, he was denied a professional license because of his sex offender status.
Attorney Matthew Strugar of Los Angeles and attorney Allen Chaney from the ACLU of South Carolina filed the lawsuit on the man’s behalf Dec. 22 in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina, making it a federal complaint.
“The registration obligations, sort of, take over your life,” Strugar told the Post and Courier.
Even if the man was to move, reciprocity laws would require him to register as a sex offender in nearly every other state.
The lawsuit seeks to remove the man’s name from the sex offender registry, and also to stop the state from requiring anyone else convicted of sodomy offenses from having to register as sex offenders.
And the South Carolina ACLU has been where for the last few decades? There´s no LGBT legal organization to lead such a case? My goodness, that´s some lousy organized advocacy!
The state ACLU chapters operate on a “shoestring” with little funding and a lot of volunteers including lawyers working for free.
This is horrific. Those poor men. Fingers crossed for them all.
Just read the lawsuit. Very fair and with the sole intent to fix the law. I’m impressed. No scorched earth strategy, which I always advise against. But I would be very interested to know which regulatory agency rejected the application for professional license. I have a strong guess on which regulatory body would be that stupid.
This would have been a great suit to bring a couple of years ago or earlier, but at this point, they’re a bit late to the game. In a ruling last year, the SC Supreme Court already declared the state’s sex offender registry law unconstitutional because it does not provide for any subsequent review to ever get off the list. They gave the legislature a year to come up with a process for that to happen. That procedure should be enacted within the next six months. When that happens, I would expect cases like these to be among the first to apply to be removed from the list and pretty much guaranteed to succeed.
Absolutely disgusting that these consenting adult men were charged, convicted and tagged as sex offenders at all!
This is much like the “convicted felons” who have had DNA prove that they are not the culprit yet still linger for years, if not decades, waiting for the system to acknowledge their innocence. Too often our government moves way too slow doing even the simplest common sense corrections.
Comments are closed.