Friday, October 21, 2005

Moral disapproval not a legitimate state interest

Kansas state Inquisitor General Phil Kline and the fundagelicals must be in a pissy mood today. In a sign that some people in Kansas do have common sense, the state's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the state can not apply harsher punishment for consensual sexual activity with a minor when the participants are gay than they do for heterosexual offenses.

The ruling came from an appeal to the 17-year sentence imposed on then 18-year old Matthew Limon for performing oral sex on a consenting 14-year old boy, when the maximum sentence dictated by the state's "Romeo & Juliet" law would have only been 15 months for heterosexual activity. Limon has been in jail since the year 2000.

The court said Limon should be resentenced within 30 days as if the law treated illegal gay sex and illegal straight sex the same, and it struck language from the law that resulted in the different treatment. [AP]

A lower court had allowed harsher punishment for same-sex partners because the state could justify its actions as "protecting children's traditional development, fighting disease or strengthening traditional values." I'm heartened to see the supreme court ruling refuting the notion that offending one's moral sensibilities warrants the imposition of stiffer goevrnmental penalities
"Moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate state interest," said Justice Marla Luckert, writing for the high court.

"The statute inflicts immediate, continuing and real injuries that outrun and belie any legitimate justification that may be claimed for it," Luckert wrote. [AP]

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