October 22, 2005

Kansas supremes toss out law targetting gay sex.

Since 2000, Matthew Limon has been sitting in a Kansas prison. His crime was that, when 18, he had sex with a 14-year-old boy. For that crime, a court gave Limon a 17-year sentence. Had the 14-year-old boy been a 14-year-old girl, the longest sentence the court could have given him was 15 months. If that difference sounds unfair to you, you're not the only one.

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that the state can't punish underage sex more severely when the sex acts in question are homosexual. The ruling removes language in a 1999 state law that allowed shorter sentences for underage sex when the age difference between the participants is less than four years — unless, of course, the participants were of the same sex. In that case, it was OK for the judge to throw the book at the offender. In tossing out that language, the court also ordered that Limon should be re-sentenced as though the law had treated gay and straight sex identically.

A lower court had said the state could justify the harsher punishment as protecting children's traditional development, fighting disease or strengthening traditional values.

Writing for the high court, Justice Marla Luckert said the Kansas law specifying harsher treatment for illegal gay sex is too broad to meet those goals.

"The statute inflicts immediate, continuing and real injuries that outrun and belie any legitimate justification that may be claimed for it," Luckert wrote. "Moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate state interest."

Via AP.

Posted by Magpie at October 22, 2005 01:27 PM | Law/Justice | Technorati links |