My Story

Growing up in conservative West Michigan, I watched lesbian and gay friends and family members struggle to be accepted and be treated equally. There are gains and losses in this fight every day, and it is vital for LGBT individuals and their straight allies to stand up and to pay attention.

27 March 2011

Homosexuality: Illegal in the US?!

Yes...It's technically illegal some places here, too.

Remember my post about LGBTQ individuals facing different levels of legality around the world? Some countries even punish homosexuality with a death penalty (check out this Amnesty International link for an extremely interesting map).

Well, it has come to my attention that in a few states in US, homosexual "behavior" is illegal. I don't know about you, but this surprised me.

In Texas, Kansas, and Montana, this is true. Homosexuality is still illegal in these states.

What about the US Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas? In this case, the Texan anti-sodomy law was declared unconstitutional. Therefore, all similar laws were declared unconstitutional in the same blow.

Then how can these laws still remain?
Recently, a repeal was in process in Kansas. However, the law was found to be "unenforceable" and that "no one is being hurt by it."

This is what LGBTQ Nation says:

"Although the so-called sodomy laws cannot be enforced legally, civil rights advocates say they should be removed from the books because they create a climate favorable to discrimination, harassment, bullying, and hate crimes."

So, while these laws are not enforced, their very existence supports a lack of tolerance and acceptance and may even help create the unhealthy environments described above.

I see how these laws may be unenforceable. However, it would be a very significant symbolic gesture toward the LGBTQ community to take the offensive language out of these states' law books. It may be only a symbolic step, but it could precede the bigger changes needed. 

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