Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Sheriff to deputies: no longer enforce outdated sodomy statute

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BATON ROUGE- Sheriff Sid Gautreaux issued a memo Monday, telling deputies not to arrest people using an outdated anti-sodomy law.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional nearly ten years ago, but it was never removed from the Louisiana law code. A dozen men have been arrested for violating the law when deputies went undercover at parks. The arrests happened during sting operations from 2011 until July of this year when men agreed to have consensual sex with an undercover deputy.

No money was ever exchanged and no laws were broken. The men were not prosecuted.

"Effective immediately, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office will no longer use the unconstitutional sections of the law in our investigations," Sheriff Gautreaux wrote to deputies. The WBRZ News 2 Investigative Unit obtained a copy of the memo shortly after it was written.

Activists claim the sheriff's office was targeting gay men, which Gautreaux denies. Since the issue broke Sunday, he has issued numerous apologies through his spokesperson.

In the memo, the sheriff encourages deputies to make arrests for illegal activities that have not been deemed unconstitutional and are tied to the law.

"Please note that the section of the statute that makes the 'unnatural carnal copulation by a human being with an animal' illegal is still enforceable and may be charged.

While some city leaders have said the arrests were wrong and shine negative light on the city, some residents did not seem so upset. Click HERE to read more.

The sheriff plans to meet with leaders of the gay community. Details about the discussions were not released.
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