Reversing conviction of gay teen unfairly punished under 'Romeo and Juliet' law

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Last week the Kansas Supreme Court unanimously struck down part of a law that sent a gay teenager to prison for over 17 years, when a heterosexual teen would have served only 15 months for the same act. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Matthew Limon in his appeal, applauded the decision declaring that Kansas's so-called "Romeo and Juliet" law violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. "As of today ( Friday, October 21, 2005 ) Matthew Limon has already served four years and five months longer than a heterosexual teenager would have received for the same act. He has long since paid his debt to society, and we're thrilled that he will be going home to his family soon," said Lisa Brunner of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri's LGBT Task Force. "Justice has been a long time coming in this case."

In February of 2000, Limon and another male teenager were both students at the same residential school for developmentally disabled youth in Miami County, Kansas. A week after Limon's 18th birthday, he performed consensual oral sex on the other teenager, who was nearly 15 years old - three years, one month and a few days younger. Because Kansas's so-called "Romeo and Juliet" law gives much lighter sentences to heterosexual teenagers who have sex with younger teens but specifically excludes gay teenagers, Limon was sentenced to 17 years in prison. A heterosexual teenager with the same record would serve no longer than 15 months for the same offense.

source: Article 'ACLU Applauds Unanimous Kansas Supreme Court Decision - Reversing Conviction of Gay Teen Unfairly Punished under "Romeo and Juliet" Law';; 25 October 2005