Skip to comments.Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Sex Ban
Posted on 06/26/2003 7:25:57 AM PDT by jethropalerobber
Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Sex Ban
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court struck down a ban on gay sex Thursday, ruling that the law was an unconstitutional violation of privacy.
The 6-3 ruling reverses course from a ruling 17 years ago that states could punish homosexuals for what such laws historically called deviant sex.
The case is a major reexamination of the rights and acceptance of gay people in the United States. More broadly, it also tests a state's ability to classify as a crime what goes on behind the closed bedroom doors of consenting adults.
Thursday's ruling invalidated a Texas law against "deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex."
Defending that law, Texas officials said that it promoted the institutions of marriage and family, and argued that communities have the right to choose their own standards.
The law "demeans the lives of homosexual persons," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority.
We'd agree on that. Apparently we disagree on criminalizing it.
Personally, the thought of going in through the out door is a major turn off.
Take the first complete thought from the first sentence, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." What this means is that the people have a right to be secure. To do that they must be able to keep things private, or hidden from the government, and everyone else too. It's not all that hard to grasp.
While overruling the outcome of Bowers, the Court leaves strangely untouched its central legal conclusion: Respondent would have us announce ... a fundamental right to engage in homosexual sodomy. This we are quite unwilling to do. Instead the Court simply describes petitioners conduct as an exercise of their liberty (which it undoubtedly is) and proceeds to apply an unheard-of form of rational-basis review that will have far-reaching implications beyond this case.
While I agree with you on the agenda, this decision does not have to be a stepping stone to homosexual "marriage". Not jailing them for their perversions does not have to equate to state sanctioning of them.
I believe that laws against sodomy do apply to "man an women." And as to the outlawing of sex between "man an women" that is a ridiculous question. Would you consider a law that would end all humanity the same as a law against man sticking his penis in your butt?
I join JUSTICE SCALIA's dissenting opinion. I write separately to note that the law before the Court today "is ... uncommonly silly". If I were a member of the Texas Legislature, I would vote to repeal it. Punishing someone for expressing his sexual preference through noncommercial consensual conduct with another adult does not appear to be a worthy way to expend valuable law enforcement resources.
Notwithstanding this, I recognize that as a member of this Court I am not empowered to help petitioners and others similarly situated. My duty, rather, is to decide cases agreeably to the Constitution and laws of the United States. And, just like Justice Stewart, I can find [neither in the Bill of Rights nor any other part of the Constitution a] general right of privacy, or as the Court terms it today, "the liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions."
"It must be acknowledged, of course, that the Court in Bowers was making the broader point that for centuries there have been powerful voices to condemn homosexual conduct as immoral. The condemnation has been shaped by religious beliefs, conceptions of right and acceptable behavior, and respect for the traditional family. For many persons these are not trivial concerns but profound and deep convictions accepted as ethical and moral principles to which they aspire and which thus determine the course of their lives. These considerations do not answer the question before us, however. The issue is whether the majority may use the power of the State to enforce these views on the whole society through operation of the criminal law."
These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under the compulsion of the State.
If this had ever been a privacy issue the SC would never have been involved. If the men in question had simply covered themselves when the police knocked on the door and called out that there was no problem, there would have been no arrest.
The whole case was staged to become a public sex act (before the eyes of the police officers) to generate publicity, then redirected as a privacy argument.
Homosexuals would have no problem in this society if they would just stay in the closet. Presidents used to be able to have all the sex with interns they wanted until X42 tried to make it a front page issue.
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