Gay men were approached in a park by deputies working undercover. The deputies invited the men to come to their houses where they were arrested under the state’s sodomy law. That law was declared unconstitutional in the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision.
The meetings were between consenting adults and no sex or exposure took place in the parks.
But Louisiana, like Texas, has refused to remove the law from the books. The El Paso police department tried to enforce the Texas sodomy law. The city ended up settling with a five men who were harassed in a fast food restaurant.
The Facebook apology from the office of East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux states:
“The Sheriff’s office apologizes that the way these investigations were handled made it appear that we were targeting the gay community. That was not our intent. The Sheriff’s Office also apologizes to anyone that was unintentionally harmed or offended by the actions of our investigations. While sections of La. R.S. 14:89, Crimes Against Nature, have not been removed from the Louisiana law code, they have been deemed unenforceable and unconstitutional. The Sheriff’s Office will not use these unconstitutional sections of the law in future cases. We are committed to working with all branches of our government, as well as the LGBT community, to find acceptable ways to keep our community safe.”
Judging by dozens of comments following the apology, no one is buying the statement as anything more than damage control by the sheriff’s department.