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Louisiana legislators vote to keep sodomy law

Statute rendered unconstitutional in 2003 Supreme Court ruling

Louisiana House Representative Patricia Haynes Smith, whose bill to repeal an unconstitutional sodomy statute was defeated, admitted that she did not think her measure would pass. Credit: house.louisiana.gov

Despite a 2003 US Supreme Court ruling that invalidated state sodomy laws, Louisiana lawmakers have voted to keep their anti-sodomy statute in place, The Times-Picayune reports.

According to the report, Representative Patricia Haynes Smith, who spearheaded a bill to repeal the unconstitutional statute, admitted that she did not think the measure would pass but believed it would garner more votes in its favour. Smith noted that some of her  colleagues, who helped advance her bill out of committee, then gave it the thumbs-down during the vote in the House. The powerful Christian Louisiana Family Forum came out against the bid to strike down the ban, saying that its repeal would increase public health risks and leave young people at the mercy of sexual predators.

The state’s sodomy law has been used to arrest men accused of “crimes against nature.” The Times-Picayune says the district attorney’s office has not sought to prosecute such cases and, along with the sheriff, supported Smith’s efforts to repeal the statute. 

Meanwhile, a bill that would make the Bible Louisiana’s official state book also made it through a House committee and will be up for debate in the full House, WWLTV News reports.

Shreveport lawmaker Thomas Carmody, who is spearheading the proposal, says the measure is not meant to be a state endorsement of Christianity, nor is it a bid to exclude other sacred literature, the report adds.