Claims Innocent on Invalid Anti-Sodomy Laws
City Councilmember John Delgado of Baton Rouge was infuriated when he read on July 28th in a Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper that the local sheriff, Sid Gautreaux had arrested twelve gay men in the last two years on charges that they had violated the state’s law prohibiting homosexual sex. Truth is that with the Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court Case in 2003, those anti-sodomy laws were rendered invalid.and unconstitutional yet still remain on the books in Louisiana as well as other states.
The Sheriff says he never got a memo saying that anti-sodomy laws weren’t valid anymore. Duh. Delgado said “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” It seems that Sid ‘s modus operandi of his sting was having his deputy ask men in the park if they wanted to go back to his place for sex. When the men agree and go to the home, then they are arrested.
Private Consensual Sex: No Criminal Violation
There is no money involved so they are not being arrested for prostitution. The men are being arrested on false grounds as the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the anti-sodomy laws they are using to target the gay population and incarcerate them. Local District Attorney Hillar Moore stated that all the men were released from jail after being booked on the felony charge of attempted charge against nature and that the district attorney’s office did not pursue the charges in any of the cases as there is nothing illegal about what happened.
Delgado, a lawyer, is adamant that” those officers had to have known the law is unconstitutional. I think it’s a policy of harassment that targets a specific segment of the population. ”He is filing public records to determine when the District Attorney’s Office informed the Sheriff’s office that the men had not committed crimes.
On July 28, 2013, the Sheriff’s office issued a statement saying it “has not, nor will it ever, set out with the intent to target or embarrass any part of our law-abiding community.” It said that the arrests were an attempt to deter or stop lewd activity in a park where children are playing. “Children were not present when the gay men were arrested. On July 29th, the Sheriff nor his office were not available for comment. Hmmm.
However, D.A. Moore told the newspaper that in all twelve cases, the men agreed to have sex away from the park at a private residence.
Appeasing the Wounded
On July 29th, Gautreaux said that he had informed all employees of the Sheriff’s Office that they are not to use these constitutional (outdated) laws. The Sheriff also stated that he would begin discussion on striking the unconstitutional sections of Louisiana’s “Crimes Against Nature” law from the books.
Gautreaux told the Capital City Alliance, a local LGBT advocacy group, that deputies “will no longer be enforcing this law until the courts or the legislature removes it.” In hindsight, Gautreaux admits that he should have taken a different approach. He insists that the arrests were never to target a certain segment of the population. “When we receive reports of public masturbation, sex and other lewd activity in a park where children are playing, we must take these concerns seriously. Our intent was honorable, our approach, however, is something we must evaluate and change.”