Court rejects gay-lesbian group's appeal
GRETNA, La. (AP) — A state appeal court has refused to strike down the state's crime against nature law, which bans sex with animals, among other acts.
In addition, the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal rejected an attempt by LEGAL, the Louisiana Electorate of Gays and Lesbians, to throw out a law that says the state attorney general can investigate homosexual organizations.
In one of the two provisions LEGAL was trying to strike down, the state attorney general's office is given the right to prosecute homosexual groups, as well as those promoting prostitution and narcotics. The categories are all lumped together in the elderly statute.
But the appeals court said, in effect, that LEGAL's target — the Jefferson Parish district attorney — was not properly chosen, and that it could, if it choses too, go after the attorney general on the same issue.
"Nothing in this decision prevents the plaintiffs from proceeding directly against the attorney general," the three-judge panel said.
In the other challenge ruled on by the appeals court, LEGAL sought to have the state's entire crime against nature law struck down.
Last year, Judge Robert Murphy of Jefferson Parish followed the U.S. Supreme Court by striking down part of the law making it criminal for consenting adults to have oral or anal sex.
But Murphy left intact parts of the crimes against nature law forbidding human sex with animals, solicitation for oral and anal sex, and aggravated crimes against nature — aggravated usually meaning nonconsensual sex or sex involving someone who is underaged.
LEGAL didn't object to having those activities declared illegal, but held that Murphy had improperly whittled down the original law — and that throwing the entire statute out was preferable.
In their ruling this week, the appeal court upheld Murphy.
John Rawls, LEGAL's attorney, vowed to press on. "It's like swimming in jello. This is the 14th appelate court we've gone to," he said. "If the judges of this state think they are going to wear out the gay and lesbian community, the judges are mistaken."