a1 Brooklyn College, CUNY
On July 2, 2010, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law a bill that reduced the act of soliciting a “crime against nature” for compensation from a felony to a misdemeanor. A felony conviction had meant a fine of up to $2,000, imprisonment for up to five years (“with or without hard labor”), or both. Because of the change in the crime's classification to a misdemeanor, those convicted of a first offense now face lesser penalties: a fine of up to $500, six months in jail, or both. Thus, the penalty for a first conviction for solicitation of “unnatural carnal copulation by a human being with another of the same sex or opposite sex or with an animal” for pay is the same as the penalty for a first conviction for prostitution not deemed “unnatural.” (Regular prostitution is defined in the Louisiana criminal code as “indiscriminate sexual intercourse with others for compensation.”) Another reform: Before this bill was enacted, anyone convicted of soliciting “unnatural carnal copulation” for compensation was required to register as a sex offender. Now, one is not deemed a sex offender until a second conviction.
(Online publication January 14 2011)
Paisley Currah is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. His current book project, The United States of Sex: Regulating Transgender examines contradictions in state definitions of sex. He is a co-editor of Corpus: An Interdisciplinary Reader on Bodies and Knowledge (Palgrave, 2011) and Transgender Rights (University of Minnesota Press, 2006). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.