Is Exodus playing a bit loose with the truth when it says it supports sodomy laws?

The possibility does exist.

In the legal case Lawrence & Garner v. State of Texas, two Texans are battling Big Government after an antigay neighbor had them arrested for sexual intercourse in the privacy of their own home. The neighbor was later convicted for filing a false police report in order to lure police into the men’s home.

In the Texas case, the men were fined just $200.

However, in Florida, where Exodus is based, both heterosexuals and homosexuals can be jailed for 60 days if convicted of engaging in non-reproductive sex.

It stands to reason that ex-gays are at exceptional risk of arrest under sodomy laws. Ex-gays do not live their sexual lives in the comfort and relative safety of accepting homes and neighbors. Struggling ex-gays often are married or living among friends who are hostile toward gays. When they succumb to temptation after anguished efforts at abstinence, ex-gays go to bars, parks, or the Internet in search of anonymous or casual encounters. In other words, they go to the places at highest risk for police surveillance — and, in the future, for surveillance by activists looking to turn sodomy laws against the very people (ex-gays, the religious right) who enact and defend such laws.

Even when ex-gays “go straight,” their nonmarital sexual activities with the opposite sex may be considered illegal in the 10 states, including Florida, where heterosexual sodomy is illegal.

Exodus has declined to say whether it supports enforcement of the existing sodomy laws. I believe this is a cop-out. Refusal to enforce a law is the equivalent of obstruction against a law.

Either Exodus supports fines and incarceration of gays, ex-gays, and anyone else who expresses non-reproductive sexuality in private — or Exodus is misleading its audience when it claims to support the nation’s sodomy laws.

Comments submitted to XGW’s former blog location:

“Exodus has declined to say whether it supports enforcement of the existing sodomy laws. I believe this is a cop-out. Refusal to enforce a law is the equivalent of obstruction against a law.”

In response to this, I would say it is not Exodus’ place to ‘enforce’. They help (or at the very least try to help as they see fit) gay and formerly gay people. There is an analogy here to the numerous non-profit organisations that help or attempt to help illegal-drug abusers. Although individuals within the organisations may support or oppose laws that fine or incarcerate illegal-drug offenders, the organisations do not function as ‘enforcement’ nor do they function as ‘informers’. To do so, would be to break with their legal non-profit charter and to undermine the work of the organisation.

Might I add, to ask such questions is to set a trap. A response either way would have been no-win for the organisation. Indeed, as it was written, it is of interest to Individuals to decide what their opinion and course of action is.

But my basic point is, there is a compromise between morality and the letter of the law and case by case enforcement. Often, they are not in reality with eachother. And it is good that the government does not put its hand too deep into social affairs by making non-profit groups function as though they were extensions of government.

—Peter • 4/22/03; 11:51:13 PM

Thank you for your thoughts.

I agree that a response is no-win.

Which is precisely why I believe Exodus is hurting its own interests by taking a position on sodomy laws. Exodus has already put itself in a no-win position.

These same laws can be used by authorities to harm ex-gays and, by extension, invade the homes of conservative Christians on suspicion (by hostile neighbors) of adultery, three-way relationships, etc.

I also agree that it is inappropriate for the government to give non-profit groups government functions or powers.

Personally, I view both Exodus and NGLTF as opposing examples of that old chestnut, “political correctness” — in other words, examples of groups that claim to know what’s best for everyone else BUT that go a step further by trying to silence or punish their opposition.

I don’t see either organization looking out for the wellbeing and free will of its constituents.

Then again, I don’t claim to speak for God, and I remain open to other perspectives.

—Mike A. • 4/23/03; 10:44:35 AM

It looks as if the question is in response to the argument that the laws should stay as a ‘moral’ position while being unenforced. Does Exodus support vigorous enforcement, passive enforcement or non enforcement? All of these are options. By refusing to take a position on this, Exodus has further confused their position.

—Dale • 4/24/03; 9:40:29 AM

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