Area leaders push to repeal existing Louisiana law

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A push to repeal a Louisiana law that prohibits certain sexual acts between adults is gaining steam locally and across the state. The existing law recently resulted in a black eye for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office in July after the agency had arrested a number of men in area parks based on a law that is virtually unenforceable.

Matthew Patterson a member of Equality Louisiana says the law is similar to a statute in Texas the United States Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in 2003 and refers to sexual acts in the crimes of nature provision.

"Basically the key words are consensual, private and uncompensated so not for money. The court ruled infringing on these rights is a violation of due process and the government has no business infringing on that fundamental liberty," said Patterson.

Next month State Representative Pat Smith will submit a bill designed to clean up the language of the law so that only the parts determined to stand up in court will remain. She says it will help those trying to enforce state laws.

"That's what we're trying to do is let them know we are trying to protect them as well that when they go out and pick up someone for any infraction that the DA can actually prosecute the people they pick up," said Smith.

Baton Rouge Metro Councilman John Delgado is behind Smith and says this week the council will vote on a resolution supporting the bill and urges the state legislature to pass it.

"The Supreme Court of the United States said this law was unconstitutional so to take it off the books is a common sense solution to say otherwise would be to allow ignorance to prevail over common sense and I don't think anyone on council is going to do that," said Delgado.

Smith says she understands many don't support same sex relationships in the state but adds this is about keeping Louisiana laws up to date.

"When my friends on the spiritual side say this has never been tested, it truly has been tested. It's been tested in the United States Supreme Court, been tested in Fifth Circuit of Appeals and the only other place it can be tested is upstairs with the big man and none of us are those judges," said Smith.

The resolution supporting Smith's bill is scheduled to come up at the Baton Rouge Metro Council meeting Wednesday.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.