State legislators, law enforcement officials and equal rights groups all support a push to remove "anti-sodomy" language in state laws that have been used to criminalize same-sex relationships. State Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, prefiled House Bill 12, which would remove consensual oral and anal sex from the state's "crimes against nature" statute.
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office made arrests under the anti-sodomy "crimes against nature" statute between 2011 and 2013 — despite the U.S. Supreme Court declaring it unconstitutional in 2003 and ruling it unenforceable. East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux III later apologized and pledged to work to remove the language from the law. East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore, Louisiana Sheriffs Association director Michael Renatza, and Pete Adams, director of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association, also announced their support.
In a statement to The Advocate, Louisiana Family Forum president Gene Mills implied his group would put up a fight to keep the language in the statute, saying, "It may be difficult for Pat to find a great deal of support in this legislative body for taking it off the books."
"This bill is a common-sense solution to a silly problem," wrote Equality Louisiana president Tim West in a Feb. 3 statement. "It just makes sense to remove an unenforceable law from the books. The only reason for Mills' belief is unambiguous discrimination." — ALEX WOODWARD