Advocates continue fighting against out-dated 'crimes against nature' laws despite hurdles

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Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 6:18pm

UPDATED: Friday, February 14, 2014 - 9:58am

An ordinance to take some controversial 'Crimes Against Nature' laws off the books failed to even get a hearing Wednesday. But those who have been pushing for the un-constitutional law to be nixed completely have vowed to keep fighting, despite this small hurdle.

"I think that my colleagues did not vote the conscience of their constituents. I think that the people of Baton Rouge do not believe in discrimination, they do not believe or think we should discriminate against people unfairly," explained Councilman John Delgado, a sponsor of the ordinance.

While the law in question is already unconstitutional, advocates said they're disappointed several council members shied away from discussing the issue.

"Baton Rouge sort of has a unique role in making sure these mistakes are not repeated. And so for us to be able to show some leadership and show that we're trying to work on this is whatever way we can, would be really good for the community," explained Matt Patterson.

The ordinance would have taken out-dated sodomy laws off the books, that were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court years ago. And while it failed to get a hearing, some council members and gay rights advocates say they're taking the fight all the way to the legislature with a bill written by Representative Pat Smith.

"The next step really is for the people of Baton Rouge to contact their representatives. To contact both their state representatives and their metro-council members and say, 'hey look. These are not the kinds of things we'd like to see in our community,'" said Delgado.

Gene Mills with the Louisiana Family Forum believes the battle at the legislature will be an ‘uphill battle.’

"Councilmen Heck and Delgado's resolution last night had no binding effect on either state law or the legislature. The effort was an unnecessary and divisive use of council time and tax payer resources," explained Mills in a statement released Thursday.

Those anti-sodomy laws were used by East Baton Rouge sheriff's deputies to arrest several men over the summer.

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