Spit It Out

We can just hear Phill Kline gagging. Just a week after the conservative Christian Kansas attorney general ruled that clinics in his state would have to report fifteen-year-old abortion seekers to the cops, Kline had no choice but to say gay sex was OK in the land of ahhhs.

“The decision announced by the Supreme Court of the United States today renders Kansas adult homosexual sodomy law unenforceable and unconstitutional,” Kline wrote in a June 26 statement to the media. “Accordingly, we are providing notice to county and district attorneys and other law enforcement officials of the nature of the Supreme Court decision and its effect on this little-used Kansas law.”

That day’s Supreme Court ruling struck down Texas’ sodomy law. Kansas, along with Missouri and Oklahoma, was one of the three remaining states specifically banning same-sex sodomy.

The law may have been “little-used,” but that was of no comfort to Robert Rowe.

As the Pitch reported on December 6, 2001 (“Unprotected Sex”), Rowe got a blow job in a Shawnee Mission Park restroom just before a park policeman walked in. Rowe admitted to the hummer and found himself convicted of sodomy. His lawyer, Darrell Smith, argued on appeal — just as the busted men in Texas did — that gay men deserved equal protection under the law. (Unlike Rowe, the Texans had stayed in their own apartment.) The appeals court disagreed, and the Kansas Supreme Court refused to hear Rowe’s case.

Rowe said he came out a wiser man. “I do not practice the lifestyle I used to,” he told us last year. “I found there are better places to meet people than the parks.”

It’s a good thing gays and lesbians in Kansas didn’t have to rely on Rowe to secure their civil rights. On May 7 he displayed his fauna to an undercover officer in yet another park bathroom, according to the attempted criminal sodomy charge brought against him by the Johnson County District Attorney’s office. Rowe is due in court August 13, though the county may drop the charges in light of Kline’s directive.

Rowe is humbled again. He says his May dalliance was his first park visit in two years, and he won’t be going back.

“Of course, I told you that before,” Rowe says. “Maybe I am a politician … talking out of both sides of my mouth.”

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