TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas cannot punish illegal underage sex more severely if it involves homosexual conduct, the state’s highest court ruled unanimously Friday in a case watched by national groups on both sides of the gay rights debate.
The Supreme Court said in a unanimous ruling that a law that specified such harsher treatment and led to a 17-year prison sentence for an 18-year-old defendant “suggests animus toward teenagers who engage in homosexual sex.”
“Moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate state interest,” said Justice Marla Luckert, writing for the high court.
What does this have to do with naturism, you want to know? I’m glad you asked. The answer is in the highlighted part of the excerpt.
Whatever you think of the morality of gay sex, you have to admit that this is an issue where there is a sharp disagreement among responsible people. It’s not like the immorality of murder or stealing or lying, about which there is only a question about whether a particular incident really falls in the category in question. Instead, it’s a very contentious question about whether the practices of a particular broad type are even immoral at all. It’s basically a religious issue, about which the government is required not to favor one viewpoint over another.
Sound familiar? Don’t we hear all the time that certain self-appointed guardians of “public morals” have declared that harmless public nudity itself is inherently immoral?
Yep. Naturists and others who want to enjoy harmless public nudity face that all the time. Especially in a place like Kansas.
The lack of a strong consensus that either (private) gay sex or nonsexual public nudity is inherently immoral is precisely why the Kansas Supreme Court decided unanimously that “Moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate state interest.” The government simply has no business regulating religious moral issues like this.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see this issue go to the U. S. Supreme Court. Naturists should be hoping with all their might that the latter is as clear-sighted as the highest court of Kansas.
The article is also here.
Originally posted October 21, 2005