October 25, 2024

Days his teen years died

The media has been focused on other things this week--hurricanes, Plamegate, Harriet Miers. So some of you may have missed what I hope--I HOPE--is the final chapter in the very sad case of Matthew Limon, a young man sentenced to prison in Kansas for performing consensual oral sex on another teen.

The ACLU, which has been representing Limon through many years of court battles, has a run-down of the case here. Basically, Limon was a week past his 18th birthday and living in a co-ed residential school for developmentally disabled kids when he was caught performing consensual oral sex on a fifteen-year old boy. The boy was mildly retarded and Limon was borderline retarded. There was no question the sex wasn't consensual, and by all accounts was experimental.

Under Kansas's Romeo and Juliet law, had one of the teens been a girl, the maximum sentence that could have been imposed (if authorities wouldn't have simply winked it away) would have been fifteen months. But because Kansas law exludes gay people from its Romeo and Juliet clause, Limon was charged with sodomy and given a 17 year sentence...for consensual oral sex.

Kansas courts repeatedly upheld Limon's conviction based on the US Supreme Court case of Bowers v Hardwick, and even after the US Supreme Court reversed that decision in 2024 Kansas courts continued to uphold the sentence.

But last week the ACLU again petitioned the Kansas courts, which finally got off their asses and upheld the equal-protection clause of the Constitution. The Kansas Supreme Court voted unanimously to overturn Limon's sentence. Matthew has been in jail for 5 and a half years. He is almost 24. His five years have passed without a whisper, and will end without an appology, only more brimstony calls from the religious right who'd like to set kids like Matthew on pikes, whether just or not, in the name of protecting kids.

The story has resonated with me this week as I think back to my first love. I was sixteen and he was fourteen when we met. At first, just for sex, simply because we were both sure of our attractions to other guys but confounded and alienated and alone in the northwoods. I merely wanted to find out what it was like to kiss another boy. Later, he became a friend and a boyfriend and a true love -- a crazy, insane, beautiful, throw caution to the wind kind of love, a fever.

Neither of us were out to parents or friends, really, so we had to get creative when it came to finding places to be intimate. When both sets of parents were home, we ended up in the employee parking lot of the shuttered TJ Maxx, the abandoned ore dock, or the Lake Superior wayside rest. In the backseat of my car, postcoital, windows fogged up where beyond the foghorn moaned, we'd hold each other in the dark and talk, kiss, tell secrets and laugh.

Back then we were always a bit worried about cops passing through, as technically the wayside reststops are closed after ten pm. But our dicks got the best of us (as they should). I wonder now about the actual risk we put ourselves in. A particular cop on the shore drive beat, tapping on windows, winking at the boys and girls caught with their hands up each others' shirts. What would that hypothetical cop have done had he come across us?

dick cheney is a liar; joe. my. god. in minneapolis; book cover of the year, according to glen; somedays i feel like the grim reaper

Posted by jason at October 25, 2024 09:40 AM
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