OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The lawyer for a former Baptist church leader who had spoken out against homosexuality said Thursday the minister has a constitutional right to solicit sex from an undercover policeman.I'm not sure if the request for oral sex stepped over the line into exploitation or harassment, but if someone believes same sex marriage and basic civil rights for gays should be rejected legally they should believe the same about this man's same sex proposition even when they are the person who stepped over the line.
The Rev. Lonnie W. Latham had supported a resolution calling on gays and lesbians to reject their "sinful, destructive lifestyle" before his Jan. 3, 2006, arrest outside the Habana Inn in Oklahoma City. Authorities say he asked the undercover policeman to come up to his hotel for oral sex.
The attitudes this minister holds forth about homosexuality are key contributors to why a prosecutor would view his actions as criminal even if he didn't participate in what many people think of as public lewdness.
His attorney, Mack Martin, filed a motion to have the misdemeanor lewdness charge thrown out, saying the Supreme Court ruled in the 2003 decision Lawrence v. Texas that it was not illegal for consenting adults to engage in private homosexual acts.How you offer to engage in an otherwise legal act makes a huge difference. The problem I have with this prosecutor's reasoning is that I doubt that many men who ask women for oral sex in this same way and in a public location would be arrested for lewdness.
"Now, my client's being prosecuted basically for having offered to engage in such an act, which basically makes it a crime to ask someone to do something that's legal," Martin said. Both sides agree there was no offer of money, but prosecutor Scott Rowland said there is a "legitimate governmental interest" in regulating offers of acts of lewdness.
When women complain of unwanted heterosexual offers -- or even demands -- of acts of lewdness they are often looked at as whiners. "He isn't harassing you, he's flirting."
Maybe it's different when men think of themselves as the target for that sort of "flirting."