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A Win for Consenting Adults in Michigan

On July 9 Wayne County Circuit Court Judge John Murphy struck down longstanding Michigan statutes against sodomy and gross indecency. Judge Murphy declared that these laws violated citizens' rights to privacy under the State of Michigan constitution. Still illegal under State law are sexual acts involving minors, sexual acts engaged in public, and sexual acts involving force.

According to Murphy, his ruling affects only the sections of the sodomy and indecency statutes that deal with the behavior of consenting adults in private. The laws in question pertained not only to sexual acts between persons of the same se, but also to sexual acts of oral and anal intercourse between persons of both sexes, including married couples.

The ruling spoke to a two-year-old lawsuit brought by the Michigan Organization for Human Rights (MOHR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Other plaintiffs were the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and twelve individual citizens of Michigan. The individual plaintiffs, including Verna Spayth of Ann Arbor, had stated that the laws had a "chilling effect" on their behavior. The suit was brought against Wayne County Prosecutor John O'Hair and Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley. It is unclear whether the ruling will be appealed.

Attorney David Piontkowsky, who represented MOHR stated that, "This is an important victory for everyone concerned with privacy rights in this country." Similar comments were voiced by Howard Simon, Executive Director of the Michigan ACLU. For further information, call the MOHR office at 537-MOHR or (517) 887-22605.

The 15th Michigan Womyn's Music Festival will be held August 15-19 in Oceana County, 20 miles east of Lake Michigan between Hart and Ludington. For information, write WWTMC, Box 22, Walhalla, MI 49458 or telephone (616) 757-4766. Call 763-4186 for possible carpool information.

Gay Liberation's Purpose is to provide information, counseling, and related social services for people concerned about sexual orientation.

Community Services include: a Hotline for crisis intervention, peer counseling, referral. Education: workshops and conferences on lesbian and gay male concerns, with an emphasis on how people in the "helping professions" and "teaching professions" can work positively with lesbian and gay male clients, patients, & students. Speakers Bureau: a phone for information. Human & Civil Rights: information and referral to help people who are being discriminated against because of their actual or presumed sexual orientation or because of their presumed "cross-gender" characteristics; lobbying for human and civil rights. Community Organizing: information and assistance in organizing groups, setting goals, addressing conflict, linking with other groups and resources.

Gay Liberation Meetings vary according to purpose; we do most of our work in subcommittees (counseling, groupwork, education, civil rights). Call for time and place. We are U-M students, staff, faculty, and people from the larger community.

Gay Liberation, c/o 4117 Michigan Union, Ann Arbor, MI 48109; info: 763-4186


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