When Gov. Sam Brownback compiled a list of 51 laws to be considered for repeal, Kansas Statute 21-3505, which criminalizes same-sex sodomy (defined as anal or oral sex) was not on it. Although the ten-year-old Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court ruling renders the statute unenforceable, the fact that it remains on the books in Kansas is disturbing to members of the gay community and LGBT activists.
Thomas Witt, chairman of the Kansas Equality Coalition, expressed his opinion to the New York Times: “This isn’t just some archaic law that’s sitting on the books and isn’t bothering anyone. It’s used as justification to harass and discriminate against people, and it needs to go.”
Brownback is a vocal opponent of gay marriage, and his opinions stem from his religious beliefs. He refused to comment on why Statute 21-3505 has not been recommended for repeal, but an official provided the enlightening comment, “What we’ve proposed is what we proposed.”
Activists in Kansas have lobbied for Brownback to take a more impartial stance on gay rights and gay marriage, but this latest development shows that he doesn’t intend to make any concessions as far as that particular civil rights issue goes. Let’s hope that law enforcement officers in Kansas are at least aware of the fact that Kansas Statute 21-3505 is no longer enforceable.
Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations