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NYC in Contempt for Enforcing Old Laws Against Gays

NYC in Contempt for Enforcing Old Laws Against Gays

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The City of New York was held in contempt of court on Monday for failing to stop enforcing loitering laws that were ruled unconstitutional more than 20 years ago.

U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote that city had taken steps to halt unlawfully issued summonses, according to The New York Times. However, Scheindlin wrote that the actions to assuage the "tens of thousands of individuals who have, at once, had their constitutional rights violated," were "too little, too late."

"More disturbing still," she added "it appears the laws -- which target panhandling, remaining in a bus or train station, and 'cruising' for sex -- have been enforced against the poor and gay men."

Scheindlin's 44-page decision cited loitering cases that were decided upon in 1983 and 1988 in the New York Court of Appeals. She ruled that the city would be fined $500 for each illegal summons it issues under the outdated loitering law. The fine would increase by $500 every three months thereafter, with a maximum of $5,000.

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