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Letter to the Editor: Jetton's position is embarrassing

Friday, February 9, 2007

To the editor:When I heard a couple of weeks ago that state Rep. Scott Lipke had been removed from his committee chair by House Speaker Rod Jetton, I must confess that I was curious about what was behind such a bold and unusual intraparty move. What great crime has Lipke committed? Another Republican sex scandal? As it turns out, it is a sex scandal of sorts.

Lipke was removed for attempting to take out the antiquated statute that outlaws homosexuals from having consensual sex -- a law that, if enforced, would make hundreds of thousands of hard-working, otherwise law-abiding Missouri citizens criminals subject to incarceration.

Sensibly, the U.S. Supreme Court had already ruled in 2003 that these laws are an unconstitutional attack on personal privacy.

Recently, Jetton and some other legislators spoke of the importance of this statue to their conservative constituents. I always though conservatives were against government interference in personal lives.

Aside from the patent absurdity of Jetton's position, it is also an embarrassing affront to all basic decency. Of course homosexuals have sex with each other. To try and make that a crime is something from the land of Borat, not the land of the free.

I don't know if Lipke intended to take a courageous stand on personal freedom and dignity or if he was removing a law the Supreme Court had struck down. Either way, he was in the right.

Jetton should restore Lipke to his committee chair. Maybe then we could welcome Jetton and Missouri to the 21st century.

PATRICK McMENAMIN, Cape Girardeau