Here is the text of Morris Welch’s testimony yesterday before the Baton Rouge Metro Council regarding the resolution to urge the legislature to repeal the unconstitutional sections of the “Crimes Against Nature” laws.
My name is Morris Welch. I have lived in Baton Rouge for 43 years, worked at LSU for 29 years, have been a member of a local Kiwanis Club for 36 years, am a Past President of the Inter-Civic Council of Baton Rouge that selects the Golden Deeds Award winner each year, am a Board member of the Forum For Equality Louisiana, was a member of Sheriff Gautreaux’s transition team, and am a Board member, Treasurer, and worship leader at Metropolitan Community Church of Baton Rouge.
Representative Smith’s bill would only repeal the sections of the state’s “Crimes Against Nature” law that have been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Contrary to assertions by some opponents, it does not remove prohibitions against public sex, which are still covered under Public Decency laws. It does not remove other legal prohibitions.
Technically, the existing law criminalizes various activities which are practiced by many heterosexual married couples in the privacy of their bedrooms, namely any oral-genital contact. But practically it has only been used to arrest gay citizens, even when their activities were in the privacy of their own homes.
There is no legal reason to retain the existing law. The reason to retain them and to oppose the resolution before you is to heap admonishment on and to promote discrimination against a group of contributing and law-abiding citizens that are disfavored by some people. While citing questionable interpretations of Biblical texts, those folks ignore and violate Christ’s core teachings of love for all people and acceptance of those who are or have been oppressed.
I urge you to pass this resolution. It is the right thing to do economically to signal a welcoming place to workers, especially the educated and creative. It is the right thing to do legally to avoid confusion and misapplication. And it is the right thing to do morally to be true to Christ’s ministry and teaching and the tenets of several other faiths. Thank you for your consideration.
Note: The Baton Rouge Metro Council voted 7-3 against the resolution. The two sponsors (John Delgado and Ryan Heck) and council member C. Denise Marcelle were the only votes in support. Council members Ronnie Edwards, Scott Wilson, Chandler Loupe, Donna Collins-Lewis, Buddy Amoroso, Joel Boe and Tara Wicker voted against the resolution. Trae Welch and Chauna Banks-Daniel were absent from the meeting.