16 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 881 (1983-1984)
Nemetz v. Ins: The Rights of Gay Aliens under the Constitutional Requirement of Uniformity and Mutable Standards of Moral Turpitude

handle is hein.journals/nyuilp16 and id is 897 raw text is: NEMETZ . INS: THE RIGHTS OF GAY ALIENS
UNDER THE CONSTITUTIONAL
REQUIREMENT OF UNIFORMITY
AND MUTABLE STANDARDS OF
MORAL TURPITUDE
I. INTRODUCTION
This Comment will explore the effects of an individual's
homosexuality on his application for naturalization. In Nemetz
v. INS1, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the
petitioner's homosexual activity could not serve as the basis for
denying a finding of the requisite moral character when the
activity was private, consensual and caused no harm to the
public.2
While ostensibly a step forward for the gay community,
the holding was too limited. Although the Fourth Circuit's
decision reflected changing social attitudes toward homosexu-
ality, the decision was confined on the facts to the form of
homosexual behavior that is least socially offensive-that
which is private, consensual and neither harms nor openly
offends the public.3 Nemetz, the petitioner, was an alien who
lived with a male roommate with whom he had sexual rela-
tions.4 If Nemetz' homosexual activity had been promiscuous,
he might not have been granted citizenshipS-even though
such activity is legally accepted in many parts of the country.6
Consequently, Nemetz has implications for aliens who engage
1. 647 F.2d 432 (4th Cir.1981).
2. Id. at 437.
3. See id. at 436.
4. Seeid. at 433.
5. See id. at 436.
6. See Rivera, Our Straight-Lacedjudges: The Legal Position of Homosexual
Persons in the United Sltaes, 30 HAsrINGS L.J. 799, 950-51 (1979). Twcnty-one
states have decriminalized private, consensual homosexual activity: Alaska,
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota,
Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and
Wyoming). Id. No state in the deep south has decriminalized homosexual
behavior, and of the states in the Fourth Circuit, only West Virginia has
decriminalized such activity.
881

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