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Man With Mental Disabilities At Center Of Gay Rights Case

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 1, 2004

TOPEKA, KANSAS--A 22-year-old man with mental disabilities has unwittingly become the center of what is being defined as a gay rights debate.

Matthew Limon was convicted four years ago of performing oral sex at age 18 with a consenting 14-year-old male who has mental retardation. They were both living at a residential program housing children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Limon was sentenced to 17 years in prison for the crime. Had he been convicted under Kansas' "Romeo and Juliet" law, which grants more lenient sentences for adults under age 20 who have sex with older teens -- but only if they are not of the same gender -- he likely would have been in prison for just 15 months.

Limon is being defended by the American Civil Liberties Union, which claims that the law violates his constitutional rights to equal protection by excluding homosexuals. The ACLU appealed the case all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which tossed it back to Kansas courts.

State attorneys argued that there is no reason to give Limon a less harsh sentence, because the law does not grant anyone the right to have sex with minors.

The Kansas attorney general has said publicly that reversing the decision and letting Limon go would jeopardize family values.

The case was heard before the Kansas Supreme Court on Tuesday.

[I wrote extensively about the case in a story which was published Wednesday in The NewStandard.]

"Court to Decide on Discriminatory 'Sodomy' Law" by Dave Reynolds (The NewStandard)
"Court weighs harsher sentence in gay underage sex case" (Lawrence Journal-World)

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