The court struck down the law as having no "rational basis" for its existence. I dislike the rational basis test, both in of itself (I think that, under its terms, its far too easy to beat--when it is met normally the Court has to stretch a bit), and as applied to homosexuals (I think that the record clearly establishes that their cases deserve either "heightened" or "strict" scrutiny). I discuss this issue in far more detail in this post. But even still, I agree with Kip Esquire--this law is "indisputably unconstitutional." And the opinion text does a good job of dismantling many of the rationales the state might have for discriminatory conduct. Also, the fact that the opinion was unanimous, and came out of Kansas, should theoretically forestall accusations of judicial activism. We all know it won't, but I can dream, right?
Unfortunately, I will also note that this case is red meat for the right. Even under the best of circumstances, reducing a sentence on a statutory rape case lights up a bright, shining "critique me" sign for Christian conservatives. But worse, the criminal himself isn't a sympathetic character. Generally, R&J laws are there so that consensual sex acts between two actors of near-same age won't be prosecuted. While this case was consensual, the perpetrator has a criminal history of aggravated homosexual sodomy (no word whether those convictions were on consensual acts too). In fact, the opinion hints that the acts weren't quite consensual after all:
The State makes the same argument in a narrower fashion as applied to the facts of this case, stating the activity between Limon and M.A.R. was "less than consensual and more likely coercive." Where the State stipulated below that the sexual activity between Limon and M.A.R. was consensual, it cannot be heard to argue on appeal that Limon's actions were "coercive and predatory." We agree the wording in the stipulation that the oral sex between Limon and M.A.R. was "consensual" was a legal misnomer and a better term would have been "voluntary," but that distinction does not permit the State to back away from its stipulation at this stage of the case.
In any case, this at the very least isn't two innocent kids engaging in puppy love. The right will go wild over this.
Orin Kerr offers some interesting thoughts. He notes that the analysis in the case makes it ripe for a Supreme Court review. However, according to the news articles I've read, the Kansas attorney general does not plan to appeal, so the Supreme Court will have to wait for another day.