Kootenai County Sheriff Misinterprets State Sodomy Law in Boy Scouts Comment

Affiliate: ACLU of Idaho
May 31, 2013 3:33 pm

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ACLU Sends Letter to Sheriff to Clarify State Law and to Ask for Policy Update

May 31, 2013

CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

BOISE, Idaho — The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho today sent a letter to Kootenai County Sheriff Wolfinger asking him to revise, update or eliminate any written or unwritten Sheriff’s Department policies or practices premised on an outdated belief that sodomy is illegal in Idaho. This after the Sheriff made public statements recently where he said that the Boy Scouts of America are “promoting a lifestyle that is in violation of state law,” and went on to say that sodomy is unlawful in Idaho.

The ACLU letter clarifies well established law and reminds the Sheriff that the United States Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas (2003) the Court held that criminal statutes aimed at regulating sexual activity among consenting adults violates their due process rights as guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Since June 25, 2003 sodomy statutes in Idaho aimed at regulating, non-commercial consenting sexual activity are unenforceable.

“As a matter of law, policy and practice, it’s critically important for government officials to understand the laws that govern our society,” said Monica Hopkins, ACLU of Idaho Executive Director. “An even higher standard exists for the chief officer who has been vested with the power to enforce the law. Police officers have the power to take an individual’s liberty away based on their interpretation of the law. Every Idahoan deserves the peace of mind that police officers know the law.”

The ACLU does not take any position on the Boy Scout’s policies regarding participation by gay youth and adults.

View a copy of the letter here.

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