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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Louisiana House kills anti-sodomy bill

Posted By on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Following its narrow passage in committee last week, House Bill 12 — which aims to remove language in Louisiana's crimes against nature statute criminalizing consensual oral and anal sex — failed to pass in the Louisiana House, where it was voted 27-66.

The bill from state Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, would remove part of a 200-year-old law that was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, a ruling upheld in Louisiana's Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2005. Smith's measure also met approval from LGBT organizations as well as Louisiana criminal justice organizations, on the grounds that there exists in the books a law they can't enforce.

State Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, asked the House to vote against Smith's measure, consdering "yesterday was Passover and Friday is Good Friday."

"This has been on the Louisiana law books for nearly 200 years," she said. "Just because we decriminalize something doesn’t make it right. ... We’re not here to rubber stamp the Supreme Court. ... We’re here to uphold the law of what’s right and wrong."

The bill faced similar religious objection in the House Administration of Criminal Justice committee on April 9, when members of the Louisiana Family Forum called the measure "immoral" and that removing the language would create a health crisis.

At today's House session, Smith pleaded with members to vote in favor "not only for me, for this bill, but for your law enforcement … bringing in people who can’t be prosecuted."

Orleans and Jefferson Parish Reps. Jeff Arnold, Austin Badon, Wesley Bishop, Jared Brossett, Helena Moreno, Walt Leger and Ebony Woodruff were among the 27 people who voted in favor of the bill.

Orleans and Jefferson Parish reps. who voted against the measure: Bryan Adams, Robert Billiot, Pat Connick, Raymond Garafalo, Jerry Gisclair, Cameron Henry, Christopher Leopold, Joseph Lopinto, Nick Lorusso, Julie Stokes, Kirk Talbot and Thomas P. Willmott.

Neil Abramson was absent and did not vote.

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