Oops, our bad. But it was on the books! Such was the response, essentially, of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, after The Advocate newspaper reported on Sunday that at least 12 men had been arrested since 2011 under a sodomy law invalidated by the Supreme Court a decade ago. Most of these men were arrested after being approached by a male undercover cop at a public park and agreeing to have sex at a private residence. No money changed hands.
In 2003, the landmark Lawrence v Texas Supreme Court case declared a Texas statute prohibiting oral or anal sex – a so-called “sodomy law” — unconstitutional. Louisiana’s then-attorney general announced that a similar law in his state was not enforceable. But today the statute is still in Louisiana’s criminal code and similar laws remain on the books in at least a dozen other states. And the Baton Rouge case shows that in some pockets of the U.S., gays still have reason to be wary of police.