by John Hawkins | August 30, 2007 8:24 am
Amazingly, Larry Craig’s arrest has prompted more than a few people to come out and imply or outright say that you should be able to legally use public bathrooms like a gay pick-up bar.
For example, here’s Garance Franke-Ruta
A lot of people are asking, “Is solicitation a crime?” That is: Was there anything criminal about Sen. Larry Craig’s gestures if they suggested a desire for consensual lewd behavior of some kind with the man in the adjacent restroom stall?
The answer, as far as I can discern, is a clear no. (See University of Minnesota Law Professor and Independent Gay Forum contributor Dale Carpenter for more. And also, surprisingly, Captain’s Quarters.) It is not a misdemeanor in Minnesota to ask a person to have sex with you, whether by gesture or voice, and even if the person finds the request unwanted. Think about it: If it were, the women of that state would have a field day with creeps at bars and cat-callers on the street.
…Why, then, do police continue to act as though it is? Because of the long and only-recently ended practice of firm legal discrimination against gay people. Until 2001, consensual sodomy was a crime in Minnesota, meaning that it was only six years ago that gay people in that state stopped being treated by the letter of the law as, quite literally, outlaws and criminals.
Jacob Weisberg: Shouldn’t we stick up for the poor guy? I can’t believe it’s a crime to tap your foot on the bathroom to signal that you want to hook up, as opposed to actually having sex in the bathroom.
What? Is the cop supposed to have let Craig into his stall so that he could whip his Johnson out in the middle of the public bathroom? Because obviously, that’s where it was going. He was sending what is, apparently (I have no idea what foot signals gay men use to show interest in bathroom stalls and don’t want to know) a sign that he wanted sex from the officer. That’s not much different than handing a prostitute her fee in my book and we accept that as being good enough for an arrest.
As to Garance Franke-Ruta’s assertion that turning a public bathroom into a dating service is fine by her, all I can say is that she’s morally retarded. There’s a time and place for everything and a public bathroom in an airport is neither when it comes to sex.
The police were right to run a sting in the bathroom, they were right to arrest Craig, and if cruising for sex in public bathrooms is supposed to be the newest thing to fall under the rubric of “gay rights,” well — I can speak for the American people on this subject when I say, “No thank you.”
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