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Kansas high court overturns harsher treatment for underage gay sex

[JURIST] The Kansas Supreme Court ruled [opinion text] Friday that illegal underage sex cannot be punished more harshly if it is homosexual. The case before the court involved convicted sex offender Matthew Limon [ACLU case materials], who was sentenced to 17 years in prison [JURIST report] for performing a sex act on a 14-year-old boy when he was eighteen. If the underage victim had been a girl, the state's 1999 "Romeo and Juliet" law would have applied, giving Limon a shorter sentence because the age difference between participants was less than four years. The Kansas high court ruled unanimously that illegal homosexual sex should be treated the same as illegal heterosexual sex, and the court removed verbiage from the law that stated otherwise. Justice Maria Luckert said that the law was too broad to meet the state's goal to strengthen traditional values saying, "Moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate state interest." Read the ACLU press release commending the court's decision. AP has more.

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