Wednesday, March 2, 2011

From Annette Warren Dickerson, CCR

The Center for Constitutional Rights, with funding from the Copelon Fund for Gender Justice, has filed a lawsuit challenging Louisiana's "Crime Against Nature" statute, which prosecutors use in prostitution cases so that convicted defendants must register as sex offenders. This means their drivers licenses identify them as sex offenders, their names appear in an Internet registry, and they are required to disclose their status to landlords, employers, neighbors and schools.

Dear CCR Supporter:

As a supporter of the Copelon Fund for Gender Justice, we wanted to make sure that you saw our recent email about our case Doe V. Jindal, which was made possible by your generous support of the Fund. We are challenging a Louisiana statute which disproportionately impacts women; people across the spectrum of gender and sexuality, including gay, lesbian and transgender people; African Americans and poor people. This case highlights our commitment to continuing Rhonda Copelon's legacy of combating gender violence, racial discrimination, and human rights violations.

In February 2011, CCR, Andrea J. Ritchie, Esq. and the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Law Clinic filed a federal civil rights complaint challenging the continuing use of Louisiana’s 206 year-old Crime Against Nature statute that brands people who solicit oral and anal sex as sex offenders. The statute criminalizes individuals who offer or agree to have oral or anal sex for money by requiring them to register as a sex offender upon conviction, while a conviction under Louisiana’s prostitution statute triggers no such requirement.

This archaic and discriminatory law is founded on moral disapproval and outdated notions of what kinds of sex acts are acceptable.

Doe v. Jindal was filed in the United States District Court Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans on behalf of nine anonymous plaintiffs. Some of the plaintiffs have multiple convictions of Crime Against Nature by Solicitation and as a result must register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. The lawsuit alleges that being forced to register as a sex offender because of a Crime Against Nature conviction (which is the only offense requiring registration that includes no element of force, coercion, lack of consent, use of a weapon, or the involvement of a minor) serves no legitimate purpose whatsoever. As such, it is unjustifiable and unconstitutional.


If you are inspired by this work please consider making a donation to the Copelon Fund for Gender Justice.

Thank you for your continued support and your interest in our gender justice work,

Annette Warren Dickerson
Director of Education and Outreach
Center for Constitutional Rights