In case you hadn’t heard, the fight to remove sex workers required to register as sex offenders in Louisiana solely for a CANS conviction has been a success!!
This past Tuesday (June 11 2013), U.S District Judge Martin Feldman approved the settlement agreement between the Center for Constitutional Rights and Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell’s office that will remove approximately 700 individuals from the sex offender registry who had been required to register solely because of a Crime Against Nature by Solicitation (CANS) conviction. These individuals have remained on the sex offender registry despite the fact that, as of 2011, individuals with CANS convictions no longer have to register (the law was not retroactive), and U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman ruled in March of 2012 that the law requiring sex workers with CANS convictions to register as sex offenders was unconstitutional, saying:
“The defendants fail to credibly serve up even one unique legitimating governmental interest that can rationally explain the registration requirement…The issue presented in this case is not about approval or disapproval of sexual beliefs or mores. It is about the mandate of equality that is enshrined in the Constitution.”
“We are gratified that the state has agreed to vindicate the rights of hundreds of people who continued to be unconstitutionally registered as sex offenders,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Staff Attorney Alexis Agathocleous. “This registration requirement has disproportionately affected African American women and LGBT individuals who will now – finally – be able to begin to rebuild their lives.”
“I am overjoyed. This is truly an historic moment. Justice has prevailed and dignity has been restored to the women and men who have been denied their basic human rights for so long. We celebrate this true collaboration of community, affected individuals, and the amazing lawyers that together made a difference,” said Deon Haywood, Executive Director of Women With A Vision.”