Bloody Kansas, and I don't mean this nicely ...
You may recall when sodomy was a crime for gays and lesbians but not for straights in many states. The same sexual acts, criminal if gays or lesbians engaged in them, but not so for straights.
You may even be old enough to recall when police targeted gay and lesbian bars on New Years Eve, arresting gays and lesbians kissing in the New Year and prosecuting them for "lewd" conduct, while straights were mushy-facing all over town, right out in the open, unhindered.
The bad old days, washed away by Lawrence v. Texas, right?
Nope. A case in Kansas shows that the sexual double standard is alive and well.
Kansas has liberal marriage laws. I'm not talking brothers and sisters here, of course -- Kansas is Bible Belt, but not that Bible Belt. I'm talking about age. Kansas allows children as young as 12 to get married.
The law made something of a stir when a 22-year-old Nebraska man and his 14-year-old lover had sex when the girl was 13, had a baby, and needed to do something about it. So they crossed the border into Kansas and got married. Nebraska prosecutors weren't all that happy about it -- not to mention the girl's parents -- but Kansas holds fast to the sanctity of marriage, even when the marriage resulted from statutory rape.
Lucky, though, that the happy couple was straight.
Let's look at another Kansas case.
According to the ACLU, which is handling the case, Matthew Limon, 18, and another male teenager, 15, were both students at a state school for youth. In February 2000, Matthew performed consensual oral sex on the other teenager. Matthew was charged with "criminal sodomy" and was sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Kansas has a so-called "Romeo and Juliet" law that makes the penalty for statutory rape less severe when the case involves two teenagers. The law applies only to straight teenagers, and does not apply to oral or anal sex when performed by gay or lesbian teenagers. Had Matthew performed oral sex on a female instead of a male, he would have served a maximum of 15 months for the offense.
Matthew appealed his case through the Kansas courts. The Kansas Court of Appeals had upheld Matthew’s conviction and sentence, based on the US Supreme Court's Hardwick decision, which had upheld anti-gay sodomy laws.
The ACLU took the matter to the US Supreme Court.
Later that year, the US Supreme Court overturned Hardwick in Lawrence v. Texas, striking down sodomy laws nationwide.
The next day, the US Supreme Court vacated the decision upholding Matthew’s conviction and sentence and remanded his appeal for reconsideration in light of Lawrence. The Kansas Court of Appeals again turned down Matthew’s appeal in January of 2004.
On August 31, 2004, the ACLU argued the case for a second time before the Kansas Supreme Court. At this point, the matter rests, awaiting action by the Kansas Supreme Court.
So what to make of this?
Well, it is really quite simple.
If you are a 22-year-old man in Kansas, you are more than welcome to have sex with a 13-year-old girl, as long as you marry her. The state will sanction your blessed man-girl union with marriage, and you will live happily ever after, at least until you wake up and realize that you've made your bed and have to sleep in it.
If you are an 18-year-old straight teenager in Kansas, and you have sex with a 15-year-old girl, you might be convicted of statitory rape and spend as much as 15 months in prison.
But if you are an 18-year-old gay teensager in Kansas, and you give a 15-year-old boy a blow job, you might end up serving 17 years doing hard time.
Makes sense, doesn't it?
No doubt there is intelligent design behind this ...