The Louisiana House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly — 27–67 — to retain a law banning “crimes against nature,” including oral sex and all forms of same-sex sexual contact. The law has been unenforceable for over ten years, since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that laws criminalizing consensual private sexual behavior are unconstitutional. The 67 lawmakers who opposed the repeal thus violated their oath of office, in which they swore to support the Constitution of the United States.
Repeal of the unconstitutional law was opposed by the Louisiana Family Forum, a state affiliate of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. In a letter to lawmakers, the group argued that “Louisiana’s anti-sodomy statute is consistent with the values of Louisiana residents who consider this behavior to be dangerous, unhealthy, and immoral.” The Louisiana Family Forum also alleged that the law was essential to protect children from sodomy, even though several other laws account for such protections.
The group also claimed that the law was necessary for punishing crimes against nature in public places. The law, however, was still being used as of last year to entrap gay men who consented in public places to have sex in private places. The Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office sent undercover officers to Manchac Park, a well known “cruising” area, but arrested the men for simply agreeing to go somewhere else to have sex. The Sheriff’s office defended its sting operation by referring back to the unconstitutional law that is still on the books. Once the department was informed that the law was not valid, it apologized for its entrapment tactics. Incidentally, the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association refused to take a stance on the repeal.