In 2003, the Supreme Court struck down state anti-sodomy laws in Lawrence v Texas, but the news that the police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana have recently been using those laws to arrest people should push those states that have not yet repealed them to do so now. But as Mother Jones points out, many states have refused to do so even if they aren’t enforceable:
The anti-sodomy statute is still on the books in Louisiana, and in 12 other states across the country. And in many of those cases, it remains on the books for a very particular reason: Republican lawmakers want it to. Lawmakers in Texas have quietly killed every legislative effort to erase its anti-sodomy statute (the one that was actually stricken down by the Supreme Court), which makes sense when you consider Gov. Rick Perry is on the record defending it, and the state GOP recently made a sodomy ban part of its official platform. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback left his state’s sodomy statute out of a 2012 push to purge outdated laws. The last serious repeal push in Louisiana came in 2003, shortly before the Supreme Court decision, with opponents warning that legalized sodomy would lead to disease and child abuse—two things that, thanks to the sodomy ban, Louisiana had been mercifully free of for the last 207 years.
And even if they’re not enforced, they still have rhetorical uses. Here in Michigan, a local pastor used the fact that we still have such a law on the books to argue that it’s okay to discriminate against gay people because they’re “felons.” But such bigotries are often difficult to overcome. It took until 2000 for the last state (Alabama) to repeal its ban on interracial marriage, 33 years after it was struck down by the Supreme Court. And even then, more than 40% of the citizens voted not to repeal it.