A South Carolina man is suing the state over a requirement he registers as a sex offender for having consensual sex with another man.

The man, identified as “John Doe” in the lawsuit, in 2001 was found guilty of violating South Carolina's prohibition against gay sex. Two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas struck down state sodomy laws as unconstitutional.

Over two decades after his conviction, Doe must continue to register as a sex offender, despite the high court's ruling.

Doe is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of South Carolina and Matthew Strugar, a private attorney based in Los Angeles.

“South Carolina is the last state in the country to require sex offender registration for pre-Lawrence sodomy convictions,” said ACLU-SC Legal Director Allen Chaney. “This practice needlessly subjects law abiding citizens to the horrors of the sex offender registry and demonstrates a deeply troubling animosity by the State towards the gay community.”

Strugar told The Post and Courier that complying with the demands of the sex offender registry is a burden to his client. Doe must provide personal details about his life – including fingerprints, palm prints, and a list of online accounts he has used – twice a year to state officials. In his lawsuit, Doe also claims that his continued status as a sex offender has led to the loss of professional, economic, and social opportunities and stigma.

“It is unconscionable that in 2021, South Carolina would still put people convicted of having gay sex on the sex offender registry,” said Strugar. “This kind of overt, state-sanctioned homophobia would have been surprising 30 years ago. Today it is shocking. And it is unconstitutional.”

The lawsuit names South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel as defendants.