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Sodomy Remains Illegal In Utah
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: March 6, 2007 - 12:01 am ET 

(Salt Lake City, Utah) Utah lawmakers are refusing to remove a law banning sodomy for all but married opposite-sex couples even though the Supreme Court struck down similar laws in 2003.

The legislature ended its sitting without considering a bill to repeal the law. The attempt was made by state Sen. Scott McCoy (D), the only gay member of the Utah Senate.

McCoy attached the repeal effort as an amendment to another bill.  It was removed by the Republican leadership. The GOP majority refused to allow either debate or public hearings.

McCoy and other critics of the sodomy law say the state is repudiating unmarried couples - especially gays. 

"There is a stigma. I think that stigma is intentional on the state of Utah's part," civil rights attorney Brian Barnard told the Associated Press.

Barnard has tried for more than a decade to get courts to overturn the law.

Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble (R) said he was flabbergasted when it was suggested the law should be repealed. Like most members of the Utah legislature he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which considers homosexuality a sin.

Although the sodomy law has rarely been enforced in Utah courts have consistently refused to hear challenges to the law by Barnard.

Still, with the law remaining on the books police have an obligation to enforce it Barnard said.

That, according to Barnard could result in months of embarrassment for someone charged with the crime before it is found unconstitutional.

In June, 2003 The US Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v Texas that states cannot make laws regarding the private sexual conduct.

© 2007


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