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Attorney moves to get Utah law on sodomy struck

He says it should have been repealed long ago

SHARE Attorney moves to get Utah law on sodomy struck

A civil rights attorney who has been fighting the Utah sodomy law for 15 years on Friday filed another court complaint demanding the law be declared null.

Attorney Brian Barnard said Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a ban on gay sex in a Texas case doesn't mean Utah's law disappears, because either the Utah Legislature must repeal the statute, or a Utah court must rule the law unenforceable.

Barnard currently has a brief filed with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that an act of consensual sodomy is protected First Amendment expression.

"The right to privacy is one of the most important rights under our Constitution. What consensual adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom should not be a concern of the government," Barnard said. "This law should have been off the books long ago."

The complaint was filed Friday in 3rd District Court on behalf of plaintiff D. Berg.

In a 6-3 ruling, the nation's highest court ruled that a similar law in Texas was an unconstitutional violation of privacy.

The decision reverses a ruling made years ago that states could punish homosexuals for what such laws historically called "deviant sex."

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff filed a brief in support of the Texas law, along with Alabama and South Carolina.

"The states should not be required to accept, as a matter of constitutional doctrine, that homosexual activity is harmless and does not expose both the individual and the public to deleterious spiritual and physical consequences," the brief said.

Shurtleff was in Israel at a state attorneys general conference. His spokesman said he wanted to review the decision and would have a comment some time next week.

Of the 13 states with sodomy laws, four — Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri — prohibit oral and anal sex between same-sex couples. The other nine ban consensual sodomy for everyone: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

Utah's sodomy law exempts married couples.