LOUISIANA: Cops Arrest Gay Men For Consensual Sex Under Sodomy Laws

Baton Rouge cops have been conducting stakeouts in a public park and have arrested gay men for agreeing to have consensual sex back in their own homes. The Baton Rouge Advocate details one such recent arrest.

An undercover East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy was staking out Manchac Park about 10 a.m. one day this month when a slow-moving sedan pulling into the parking lot caught his attention. The deputy parked alongside the 65-year-old driver and, after denying being a cop, began a casual conversation that was electronically monitored by a backup team nearby.  As the two men moved their chat to a picnic table, the deputy propositioned his target with “some drinks and some fun” back at his place, later inquiring whether the man had any condoms, according to court records. After following the deputy to a nearby apartment, the man was handcuffed and booked into Parish Prison on a single count of attempted crime against nature.  There had been no sex-for-money deal between the two. The men did not agree to have sex in the park, a public place. And the count against the man was based on a part of Louisiana’s anti-sodomy law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court a decade ago.

According to the above-linked report, there have been at least one dozen arrests and the men targeted have typically been closeted and middle-aged.  According to the (gay) Advocate, the sheriff claims not to have known that the Supreme Court invalidated all anti-sodomy laws a decade ago.

The East Baton Rouge sheriff who used Louisiana’s defunct anti-sodomy law to arrest a dozen gay men since 2011 now says he didn’t know the law was invalidated by the Supreme Court. “To our knowledge, the Sheriff’s office was never contacted or told that the law was not enforceable or prosecutable,” a statement from the Sheriff’s Office claims. It was issued Sunday after The Advocate newspaper in Louisiana exposed the illegal undercover sting operation. That explanation doesn’t appear to satisfy Metro Councilman John Delgado. “Does he know that slavery is no longer around?” an outraged Delgado told The Advocate newspaper in Louisiana. “Does he know that we have cars and no longer horse and buggies?”

Zack Ford provides some background at Think Progress:

When Lawrence was decided, then-Louisiana Attorney General Richard Ieyoub issued a statement asserting that the state’s anti-sodomy law could not be enforced, except in cases of prostitution and bestiality. Still, the law remains on the books, as it does in many other states. Two years ago, a sheriff’s office in Michigan was similarly found to be entrapping gay men under that state’s anti-sodomy law, which also hasn’t been repealed, even though it’s similarly unenforceable. In Virginia, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is fighting to maintain a Crimes Against Nature Law that federal courts have specifically struck down since Lawrence.