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And Then There’s Louisiana

Jim Burroway

April 15th, 2014

If you ever need proof that Louisiana is the Louisiana of the American South, the Louisiana House of Representatives will always be happy to oblige. Today, the House defeated a bill that would remove the state’s sodomy law from the books. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling that all such laws are unconstitutional and unenforceable, the Louisiana House voted 27-67 to keep the law anyway.

Three Republicans — Reps. Franklin Foil (Baton Rouge), Lowell Hazel (Pineville), Nancy Landry (Lafayette) — crossed party lines to support repealing the unconstitutional law. Eleven Dems — that’s almost a quarter of the Democratic caucus — joined much of the rest of the GOP Caucus to keep it. They were Reps. John “Andy” Anders (Vidalia), James Armes (Leeville), Michael Danahay (Sulpher), Jerry Gisclair (Larose), Mickey Guillory (Eunice), Dorothy Sue Hill (Dry Creek), Robert Johnson (Marksville), Sam Jones (Franklin), Bernard DeBas (Ville Blatte), Eugene Reynolds (Minden), and Harold Richie (Bogalusa). Independent Jerome Richard (Thibidaux) also voted to keep the ban. Three Republicans and eight Democrats ducked the vote altogether, which means that only 56% of Democrats supported the law’s repeal.

Last summer, the Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish engaged in a classic 1950′s-style entrapment campaign in which deputies propositioned men in a public park to go back to their homes for “some drinks and some fun.” Men who agreed to private, consensual sex were then arrested and charged with Louisiana’s unconstitutional “crimes against nature” law. None of the men arrested proposed sex in public places or any other illegal activity. Once the illegal entrapment campaign came to light, the sheriff’s office responded that they were merely enforcing the law that was still on Louisiana’s books, and claimed that they didn’t know that the law had been struck down in 2003.

Also, more proof: the same House is prepared to consider another bill that will make the Bible the official book of Louisiana.

Comments

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Merv
April 15th, 2014 | LINK

Do we have to be kind and understanding to these good Christians, too? After all, they are sincerely held religious beliefs they are legislating. I don’t want to be accused of inciting a band of torch-wielding vigilantes, so let’s keep quiet for another few decades so as not to offend anyone. If we stay quiet enough for long enough, eventually they might be nice to us.

Mark F.
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Why aren’t the Democrats purging their party of these bigots? They can only get a bare majority against throwing gay men in prison? For shame.

Mark F.
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

We need people in LA to take on every one of these bigots in the primary. And Democrats need to vote against bigots in their own party, even if it means voting for a pro-gay Republican or a third party. This is far, far worse than being against marriage equality.

Hunter
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

“. . . they didn’t know that the law had been struck down in 2003.”

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. I would hope that someone would sue them in federal court.

Ben
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

I love (despise) the language you use, showing the tiny toe step of republican support as something to cheer, but then try to use phrasing to make democrats seem devious despite a clear majority supporting.

I am no fan of democrats(far too right wing for me) I’m more of a Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders kind of guy, but your political boner for the republican party is getting so tired. I realize you are not going to stop, but I want to keep pointing it out as it might not be so clear to those reading who might be swayed by your attempts to paint them as a more palatable choice now that they are being dragged kicking and screaming forward on a single human rights issue while they knuckle drag on the issues of women, people of color, the poor, and foreign policy.

Ben
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

AAAAND then I realize it’s a Burroway post instead of Kincaid, the language is so similar. When did you become an apologist for these regressive excuses for representatives of the people?

By all means, hold their feet to the fire, but don’t phrase it as if the republicans are the good guys.

Richard Rush
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Ben, isn’t it similar to how parents may understandably lavish extra praise on a developmentally challenged child who demonstrates minimal progress?

Jim Burroway
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Wow guys, get a grip.

I have always named the (tiny) numbers of Republicans who woke up and realized they were living in the 21st century. As for the Dems I’m this story, and as a Democrat myself, I was shocked at the cowardice of almost half of the caucus. So I named them so their grandchildren would know.

This is what I’ve always done when the info was readily available.

Go have a drink.

Sandhorse
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Agreed! Still trying to figure out how reporting the facts; politicians surprisingly crossing party lines (some to their credit, some to their shame) translates into popping a chub for republicans.

Unless it just doesn’t jive with the dominant narrative.

Robert
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

The only thing that would work to change these legislators’ minds is a boycott. I know that is anathema to this Republican-light blog, but it is the truth. The only reason New Orleans passed anti-discrimination laws is because it is so dependent on tourism and convention managers made it clear that they would no longer be able to attract conventions if they did not do the right thing. The entire state depends on tourism. That is the only reason a legislator pulled his bill very like the Arizona bill that was vetoed by Governor Brewer.

Organize a boycott of the state and the legislature will have a revelation. Otherwise, they are dumb as rocks and will continue doing the bidding of Tony Perkins.

Ben in Oakland
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Box turtle bulletin as republican-lite blog?

Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in reality anymore.

Lord_Byron
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

What pisses me off about this story is not the fact that a large percentage of the democrats voted against the appeal. No, what makes me the angriest is the fact that the Louisiana version of the AFA argued that by repealing the unenforceable law the law makers would be putting children at risk and making it harder to prosecute sex crimes. I don’t know how many people fell for this, but I just want to grab them by the shirt and shake them for being such gullible morons.

@Jim

I think some people are still upset about some of the Eich posts and while I don’t really like to praise people for doing something that they should be doing naturally it is nice to read that at least three members of the GOP could have some common sense when it came to this issue.

Steve
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy is usually shilling for all things Republican and most things Christian. There have been many instances where he praised even the slightest Republican movement into the right direction to high heavens. Far out of proportion to what actually happened. So I’m not surprised that someone can mistake the author of a post.

Timothy Kincaid
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy is usually shilling for all things Republican and most things Christian. There have been many instances where he praised even the slightest Republican movement into the right direction to high heavens.

Yes. That’s what you do when you want to advance your cause. You praise those who help you.

Of course, if hating Republicans is a higher priority than advancing equality, then you have to keep your Republicans as evil as you can. So you try your best to find a reason to criticize and punish those who dare to step out of line and support our cause.

It all depends on one’s goals.

Jim Burroway
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

The only thing that would work to change these legislators’ minds is a boycott. I know that is anathema to this Republican-light blog.

Where do you get the ideas that we find boycotts “anathema”? They are rarely effective, but I can think of any that I’ve ever actively opposed. And if the right one came along that looked like it could be productive, I could see getting behind it.

I swear, some of you are being pissy just for the sake of being pissy.

Steve
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

You deliver that praise mainly because you’re a Republican and you try to promote conservative ideology. Otherwise you’d keep it more in check. There is a way to welcome a little bit of progress without beatifying people for something that can be expected as given from decent human beings.

Timothy Kincaid
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Steve,

you haven’t the faintest clue what my political affiliation may be. I never discuss it on the site.

Oh, and you forgot to write “shilling” in your last comment.

Ben In Oakland
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Steve, I’m not sure where you’re getting this stuff. I’d have to say that Timothy, though leaning in a vague, general sort of a way to a somewhat conservative direction, is one of the most rigorously honest and reality based people I have ever met.

You’re accusations are simply without merit.

Timothy Kincaid
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Thank you, Ben!

Joseph Singer
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

And if that’s not enough Louisiana crazy they are passing a law that during natural disasters you don’t need to have a permit to have a gun!

Nathaniel
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

That sounds like fun, Joseph Singer! I’m not sure what the point is, but if it is meant to protect those protecting themselves from looters, when the next loot-fest comes to LA, I’m sure there will be plenty of reason to rethink that reasoning.

Lucrece
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Since when did this blog get inundated by progressive crazies in the comments?

I thought that kind of filth was restricted to JoeMyGod’s echo chamber.

It’s too funny you people would claim that Jim’s jumped ship when he and Timothy have bickered in the comments to various posts several times ;p.

This is still by far one of the more balanced sites of gay interest, and you should be thankful it’s still running considering the popularity of partisan quagmires and propaganda outlets (JMG, Towleroad) that are popular with gay men.

Lord_Byron
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Lucrece,

Nice of you to insult a lot of the commentators here. I don’t mind disagreement, but ad hominem attacks serve no purpose. Even when factual if they don’t actually bring anything new to the argument it makes no sense. There is nothing wrong with partisan and while most of the readers at JMG are liberal most of them are not “progressive crazies” and the majority are level headed. If you really want crazy why not venture over to the self-hating horror that is gaypatriot.net?

Lucrece
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

I make it a policy to stay away from the verbal diarrhea in most of those right and leftwing sites.

JMG readers, level headed LOL. You sure are in touch with reality.

Lord_Byron
April 16th, 2014 | LINK

Yes, I am quite in touch with reality and while some topics get heated for the most part people are reasonable.

Rob Tisinai
April 17th, 2014 | LINK

I see where Jim pointed out that three Republicans went against their party, which, given his obvious contempt for the law, would seem to imply both praise for these three individuals and criticism for the Republican Party for taking a contemptible position.

Can anyone quote the words which indicate Jim has a boner for the party, that his sympathies lie with Republicans in general, or that he is shilling for that party? Thanks.

Atriokke
April 17th, 2014 | LINK

“Once the illegal entrapment campaign came to light, the sheriff’s office responded that they were merely enforcing the law that was still on Louisiana’s books, and claimed that they didn’t know that the law had been struck down in 2003.”…

I remember in 2009ish I came across a middle-aged lesbian woman who was adamant that these laws were still enforceable, since after all, they were on the books. Is there ANY implication with such a law being in the books, short of being relevant if they disband from the union and form their own , probably theocratic, country?

This site is the only one thus far that censors less when offensive/ignorant POVs are expressed. As someone coming from a very conservative background, I didn’t always think like I do now. Initially, the self-hatred was deeply internalized and it came out across as extremely offensive. That being said, I didn’t overcome this foul ignorant set of ideas by being shut down when I tried to express them. No, rather unfiltered debate helped me get there. That is why I respect this site over so many others. It actually does attempt to genuinely exchange ideas and debate them. Others simply drop the ban hammer quickly when the echo chamber is disrupted. You know, in order to maintain the circle jerk of superfluous discourse.

Lord_Byron
April 17th, 2014 | LINK

Rob,

It’s all in the subtext. You need to first get your super-secret decoder ring after you submit three UPCs for fruity pebbles.

Rob Tisinai
April 17th, 2014 | LINK

Thanks, Atriokke.

CPT_Doom
April 17th, 2014 | LINK

Back to the subject at hand, I think Dan Savage had the right idea about this travesty. The sodomy law in question is not limited to gay people, so every single legislator who voted to keep it, regardless of party, should be repeatedly asked to confirm they’ve never violated the law in their own sex lives. Ask again, and again, and again, until the ridiculous nature of the law becomes clear.

Sandhorse
April 17th, 2014 | LINK

“Others simply drop the ban hammer quickly when the echo chamber is disrupted. You know, in order to maintain the circle jerk of superfluous discourse”.

What an apropos analogy!

That last sentence is not unlike the way I used to describe the comments section of GP. (when I used to visit) No other place could you see (anti-gay) straight men and (their apologists) gay men ‘tossing each other’s salads’, albeit intellectually. And whether you participated or not, you still felt the need to shower after leaving.

Because of that, there is no reason to visit that site anymore. May BTB never fall into that category.

On another note, all this brouhaha had brought a C.S. Lewis quote to mind:

“There is always the danger that those who think alike should gravitate together into ‘coteries’ where they will henceforth encounter opposition only in the emasculated form of rumor that the outsiders say thus and thus. The absent are easily refuted, complacent dogmatism thrives, and differences of opinion are embittered by group hostility. Each group hears not the best, but the worst, that the other groups can say.”

E.J.
April 17th, 2014 | LINK

And now we find that it is still legal in Louisiana to have sex with dead people….it’s good to see they have their priorities in order.

http://gawker.com/here-are-the-states-where-blowjobs-are-illegal-but-necr-1563878569

Marcus
April 18th, 2014 | LINK

Others have said what ought to be said more eloquently than I can, so I’ll just say this: I don’t understand how in the same country, within the same year (or two) when a public figure was pilloried as a hypocrite for donating to an anti-same-sex-marriage candidate back when 97% of Congress was in that camp, you can still find sheriffs going out of their way to flout the Supreme Court and the Constitution for the sole purpose of ruining people’s lives for being gay and having the temerity to exist, while state legislators back them up by smearing non-heteros as “criminals against nature”.

How do these things coexist?

@E.J. And Louisiana isn’t alone, I see.

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