So, the Louisiana State Senate this week voted to ban humans from having sex with animals.
Some lawmakers were worried that existing laws were murky and didn't exactly cover bestiality, so they wanted legislation to clarify the law. There was a state law that banned "crimes against nature," but the statute — which also outlawed sodomy — was ruled unconstitutional in 2003.
Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans, said he drafted the new bill at the request of the Humane Society. "You can find anything on the internet, unfortunately," Morrell said. "There is a huge market, an unfortunate market, of trafficking animals for sex acts."
The vote was 25-10 on Senate Bill 236, which will now be sent to the House for consideration.
That's right, 10 lawmakers (10!) voted against the bill to make it clear that bestiality is illegal in Louisiana. The 10 senators who voted against the bill were John Alario, Brett Allain, Dan Claitor, Jack Donahue, Jim Fannin, Ryan Gatti, Gerald Long, Beth Mizell, Jonathan Perry and Neil Riser. All are Republicans.
Said Morrell to those opposed to the bill: "God forbid you vote against this bill, good luck explaining it."
Under the bill, "those found guilty of sexually abusing an animal would face fines of up to $2,000 and up to five years in prison. Those who cause serious bodily injury or death while abusing an animal sexually would face fines up to $25,000 and up to 10 years behind bars," The Advocate wrote.
The proposed legislation would also set up a framework for removing animals from the custody of someone convicted of the crime and require that they undergo a psychological evaluation.
Morrell said he is concerned about public safety and studies have shown links between animal abuse and child sex abuse and other violent behaviors.
"The people who do these things abuse children, and they later graduate to murder and other horrific things," he said.
Gene Mills, president of the conservative Louisiana Family Forum, "perhaps gave an indication of the reason for Republican opposition to the bill," reported The Independent.
“We believe (current) Louisiana law is instructional in nature and is written to reflect the values of the citizens of the state,” he said. “The last thing we need is another law on the books.”
Mr Mills told The Times-Picayune newspaper if Mr Morrell’s intention was to ultimately strike the state’s anti-sodomy laws from the constitution, the Louisiana Family Forum would oppose it.
Newsweek said "it's been suggested that the disagreement could be related to Louisiana’s sodomy laws. In several states’ lists of criminal statutes, bestiality falls under the same legal umbrella as sodomy — including Louisiana, where some see SB 236 as part of a strategy to remove the sodomy laws."
Historically, sodomy laws were often used to target gay people, criminalizing private acts between consenting adults. In some places, they are still used in this way.
In the United States, laws against consensual sodomy have been deemed unconstitutional.
When the Louisiana chamber was voting on bestiality this week, a Republican Senator suggested an amendment that would also remove the state's sodomy law. The bill’s sponsor, J.P. Morrell, spoke against the amendment and it was cast aside, according to The Times-Picayune. He called for his colleagues to focus on the bestiality issue.
But the New Orleans Times-Picayune said the bill "does more than just separate bestiality from the current 'crimes against nature' laws that were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2003, Morrell said on the Senate floor Monday. In short, Morrell said the new law specifically defines bestiality and how it should be prosecuted and was written to mirror bestiality laws in other states."
Morrell did not deny his desire to see the current law removed, which still includes language criminalizing sodomy between consenting adults, but said SB236's sole intention is to make bestiality illegal under an enforceable law.