Friday, February 23, 2007

There's so much wrong with this story

A new development in the case of the Rev. Lonnie W. Latham. He was a pretty outspoken Baptist fundamentalist who didn't really like the gays. According to the AP:
Latham had spoken against same-sex marriage and in support of a Southern Baptist resolution that called upon gays and lesbians to reject their lifestyle.
Well, on January 3, 2006, he invited an undercover cop up to his hotel room for a blow job. He was charged with misdemeanor lewdness for which he could face a $2500 fine and one year in jail. (I'm guessing that he will probably have to register as a sex offender as well, but I'm not a lawyer, I just play one on the internet.)

His attorney has filed a motion to have the charge thrown out, because basically a blow job isn't illegal post-Lawrence, and this is just gay-baiting. I think he's 100% right. These lewdness laws are usually written so vaguely that police can use them to play Capture the Fag. The ACLU is also jumping in and saying that the good Reverend's First Amendment rights were violated. The judge is expected to rule on this in about two weeks.

But what's so wrong with this is, first, that he's being charged and faces a rather large punishment for something that, really, wasn't illegal. The act of giving a blowjob isn't illegal, so asking someone else to do it can't be either. He's just being picked on because he's gay. Furthermore, it's an even worse punishment if he has to go to jail, and if the other guys there find out what he's in for.... Straight up, it's terrible what's happening to him, it's unjust, and I'm glad that Lambda Legal was able to get the Lawrence precedent to help him and that the ACLU is stepping in.

The obvious other half of this is that Latham was pretty anti-gay. He seems pretty mean-spirited to me, to be supporting such a resolution and being against marriage equality. Considering the dismissiveness of Justice Scalia in describing Lawrence as being based on a "right to sodomy", and that Latham probably agreed with him before his arrest, to see him turn around and use that case and to argue, according to the AP, that he "has a constitutional right to solicit sex from an undercover policeman", just makes me cringe. There's part of me that wants someone who fought against those rights, such basic privacy rights, to have no access to them at all. Some poetic justice for him. Burn, burn, burn for being a bad person.

But then I remember that he, like me, has a drive for sex and physical intimacy that no amount of Pauline erotophobia can erase, and that drive is at least partly directed at men, and no amount of ex-gaying can erase that. Getting/giving a blowjob in a hotel room might not seem that intimate or all that good, but for such a troubled man as he had to have been, that was probably the best he could do and the least he had to do. It's good that such a man got exposed, but it would be pretty heinous crime to send him to prison for it.

(Crossposted to bilerico)

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