In one of the most egregious abuses of police power in memory, east Baton Rouge, Louisiana Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux, III is using a sodomy law that was struck down by the US Supreme Court ten years ago, as unconstitutional, in order to prosecute gay men for attempting to have sex.
Oh but it gets worse. The way Sheriff Gautreaux gets his victims? He has his deputy ask men if they want to go back to his place for sex, when they men say “yes” and come with, he arrests them.
Mind you, none of this involves any discussion of money. And it’s not the gay men doing the propositioning, as if it’s illegal to ask another men to bed. No, this is the sheriff’s department, and the city of Baton Rouge, entrapping gay men under a law that was struck down a decade ago by the US Supreme Court.
Which begs the question as to whether east Baton Rouge Sheriff Gautreaux is a blithering idiot who doesn’t even know the law he’s enforcing, or an authoritarian homophobe who thinks he can just arrest people he doesn’t like under laws that were struck down as unconstitutional ten years ago.
Sheriff Gautreaux is now claiming that the already-struck-down law is still on the books, and it’s not his job to decide which laws to enforce, it’s the court’s job. Of course, he’s right – but the court did its job ten years ago, so why is the sheriff still enforcing laws that were struck down ten years ago? Suggesting that the legislature still hasn’t repealed the law is hardly a defense – or are we back to southern segregation again, where southern law enforcement thinks it can ignore court rulings that defend minorities?
And let’s not even get into the whole entrapment issue. I mean, seriously, having the deputy ask men if they want to have sex, and then why say “yes,” he says “you’re under arrest.” As the Advocate piece points out, it’s perfectly legal for adult men to discuss having sex, so long as money, children or animals aren’t involved.
Almost makes you wonder at what point in the transaction the deputy is making the arrest. I can’t help but think of that Onion piece from 1998 in which the “straight” man complains that gay men keep “sucking my —-.” (You might not want to click the Onion piece from the office – here’s the link.)