Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The Rule of Law

Those wacky folks in Virginia don't seem to think Supreme Court decisions apply to them:

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The U.S. Supreme Court's decision last June striking down the Texas sodomy law and other state laws that prohibit private, consensual relations between two adults is being cited as a means to declare as unconstitutional Virgnia's "felony solicitation" law.

A motion filed recently by attorney Jennifer Stanton and supported by the American Civil Liberties Union aims to stop widespread Virginia police sting operations set up in gay cruising areas.

Of immediate concern are indictments brought against 26 men who were arrested in a police sting operation at a Harrisonburg bookstore. The local district attorney Marsha Garst reasoned that since the law being enforced was to prevent what she termed "public sodomy" she was free to press the state's case against the men.

Virginia's law barring sodomy is a blanket prohibition of oral and anal sex, with no mention of the distinction between public and private. As sodomy is a felony in Virginia, invitation to engage in the behavior is read as criminal solicitation and prosecuted as such.