Matthew Limon was convicted of having consensual but criminal sex with a nearly-15-year-old boy when he was 18 and both lived at a group home for the developmentally disabled. He was sentenced to a 17+ year prison term despite a Kansas “Romeo and Juliet” statute — which sharply reduces penalties for sex between a sub-16-year-old and a partner within 4 years of his/her age — because it applies only to opposite-sex activity.
Limon’s case has been returned to the Kansas Court of Appeals in the wake of Lawrence v. Texas, where Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline held a news conference to publicize his arguments in support of Limon’s sentence. As reported by the AP:
Kline said today that if the state loses a sodomy case currently before a state appeals court, Kansas marriage laws and laws against sex with children will be nullified.
Kline said the American Civil Liberties Union is attacking the state’s prohibition of same-sex marriages as well as laws against polygamy, incest, bestiality and sex between adults and children.
The ACLU described his statements as distortions and acts of desperation.
As if oblivious to the ACLU’s specific actions, Kline continues:
“I’ll tell you what: I would be deeply offended if, when my daughter turns 13, she walks out the door to meet her 30-year-old boyfriend, and I say ‘no,” and she says, ‘I’ve got a 1-800 number for the ACLU; it’s my constitutional right,”‘ Kline said. “That’s their argument. They have to live with it.”
In fact, the ACLU isn’t challenging the Kansas law which makes sex between someone under 16 and anyone else a crime. If Kline’s 13-year-old daughter aggressively pursued a 16-year-old boy for sex and got it, the ACLU isn’t impeding his ability to charge the boy with unlawful sexual relations with a sentence of up to 15 months. If the boy was was 4 years and a day older than her, he could get the same 17-year sentence Limon got.
It’s enough to leave a person thinking that Kline is employing the same strategy that Al Franken ascribes to right-wing media (parenthesized examples mine):
They “concoct an inflammatory story that serves their political goals.” (The ACLU is pro-child-sex.) “They repeat it.” (The ACLU wants my 13-year-old to have sex with 30-somethings!) “They embellish it.” (Will the ACLU stop at incest? Polygamy? Bestiality?) “They try to push it into the mainstream media.”
Early headlines about Kline in mainstream Kansas news outlets emphasized Kline’s fears; their focus seemed to shift to conflicting claims by him and the ACLU:
- KCTV5 News, Kansas City MO and Dodge City Daily Globe:
Kline Says Marriage, Consent Laws in Danger; ACLU Disputes Claim
(Earlier headline at KCTV5: “Kline: KS Marriage Laws Could be in Danger”)
- Topeka Capital-Journal:
Kline: Kansas marriage laws could be in danger
(Headline later changed to “Kline, ACLU dispute marriage, consent laws”)
Phill Kline may not be an inflammatory fear-monger, but he seemed to relish that role yesterday.