…and while those 10 are being busily lampooned on message boards and other social media by the snarky and the low-information crowd, there was something at stake nobody seems willing to recognize.
For example, here was KATC-TV’s writeup of the vote Tuesday…
A bill has passed the state Senate, that would make it a crime for a person to have sex with an animal in Louisiana – but the vote to pass it was non unanimous.
The bill now heads to the House, but 10 state senators voted against it.
The bill would make sexual abuse of an animal illegal, and set penalties for those convicted. It would also require that sexually abused animals be taken from their abusers and delivered to a veterinarian for treatment. If convicted of the crime, a person would not be allowed to own any animals in the future.
The 10 senators who voted against the bill were John Alario, Brett Allain, Dan Claitor, Jack Donahue, Jim Fannin, Ryan Gatti, Gerald Long, Beth Mizell, Jonathan Perry and Neil Riser.
Boo! Hiss! Those are the 10 Louisiana Senators who support sex with animals!
Bestiality is already illegal in Louisiana state law. But the statute prohibiting it is also the state’s anti-sodomy statute – which federal courts found unconstitutional several years ago. Therefore, the theory behind SB 236, Sen. J.P. Morrell’s bill that would “recriminalize” bestiality is that if anyone were to be prosecuted under the current statute they’d beat a conviction based on that unconstitutionality.
Which is not an uncontested notion.
The 10 Senators who voted against Morrell’s bill don’t buy that premise, and may not be sold on the idea that the state’s anti-sodomy statute actually is unconstitutional regardless of what Anthony Kennedy may have ruled to decide a 5-4 case on the statute in 2003. After all, a bill introduced in the House back in 2014 that would have repealed the anti-sodomy law failed on a 27-67 vote, because most of the legislators figured the bill wouldn’t have changed anything – nobody is getting arrested for sodomy in Louisiana, a few dumb high-profile arrests in Baton Rouge mostly aimed at eliminating the use of public parks for venues of gay sex hookups that year notwithstanding – and who wants to vote in favor of sodomy when the bill legalizing it wouldn’t actually change public policy?
Morrell took a smarter approach to his bill than Rep. Pat Smith took to her House bill that year – recognizing that the same principle could be turned the opposite way. He brought a bill that makes you out to be a supporter of bestiality if you oppose it, and got 26 votes in the Senate as his reward. He’ll likely get something similar in the House, because it’s a smart bill.
And maybe Fannin, Mizell, Riser and the rest of the refuseniks were wrong to vote against it. A legislative ban on sodomy isn’t coming back any time soon, after all, and most people would look at an anti-bestiality statute as about the most defensible redoubt for sexual morality left available.
But let’s at least recognize that it’s not about an affinity for sex with animals. It’s a statement of principle at stake – one you can disagree with, but it’s only fair to note its presence.
And naturally that flies straight over the heads of the legacy media types reporting on the bill.
This is how bad bills get passed without objection – like the infamous and also unconstitutional “stripper bill” last year. Who wants the stupid 30 second radio ads run against them with moo’s and hee-haw’s mixed with romantic music playing behind the voice-overs next year? That’s what’s coming thanks to bad reporting of this bill.