Skip to comments.SCOTUS strikes down Texas sodomy ban
Posted on 06/26/2003 7:08:23 AM PDT by Thane_Banquo
SCOTUS sided with the perverts.
"Adult" is whatever a legislature says it is.
Watch for boy-lovers to push the defintion down.
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. "
The Supreme Court struck down a Texas ban on gay sex Thursday, ruling that the law was an unconstitutional violation of privacy.
The justices voted 6-3 in striking down the Texas law, saying it violated due process guarantees.
The case was seen as testing the constitutionality of anti-sodomy laws in 13 states. The justices reviewed the prosecution of two men under a 28-year-old Texas law making it a crime to engage in same-sex intercourse.
John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner were arrested in a Houston-area apartment in 1998 by officers responding to a neighbor's false report of an armed intruder. That neighbor wrongly claimed a man was "going crazy" inside the residence. Police crashed into Lawrence's home and discovered Lawrence and Garner involved in a sexual act. They were arrested, jailed overnight and later fined $200.
"It was sort of like the Gestapo coming in," said Lawrence after a court appearance.
The men's lawyers had said that if the convictions were upheld, their clients would be prevented from obtaining from certain jobs and they would also be considered sex offenders in several states. The Texas law, they told the court, gives gay Americans second-class status as citizens.
"I feel like my civil rights were being violated," said Garner, "and I don't think I was doing anything wrong."
Lawrence and Garner were charged under Texas' "homosexual conduct" law, which criminalizes "deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex." Although only 13 states now criminalize consensual sodomy, a Texas state appeals court found the law "advances a legitimate state interest, namely, preserving public morals."
Landscape has changed since 1986 ruling
The last time the Supreme Court addressed the issue of was in 1986, when the court upheld a Georgia anti-sodomy law. Since then, much has changed in U.S. culture, say gay rights supporters, including changes in public attitudes and the fact that such laws are rarely enforced.
"The state should not have the power to go into the bedrooms of consenting adults in the middle of the night and arrest them," said Ruth Harlow of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a gay-rights group representing the two Texas men.
"These laws are widely used to justify discrimination against gay people in everyday life; they're invoked in denying employment to gay people, in refusing custody or visitation for gay parents, and even in intimidating gay people out of exercising their First Amendment rights."
Lambda cited recent U.S. Census figures showing about 600,000 households with same-sex partners, 43,000 or so in Texas.
Texas prosecutors argued the government has the right to enforce public morality. Supporters of the Texas law say states have long regulated behavior deemed "immoral," including gambling and prostitution.
"The government has a legitimate interest in helping preserve not only public health, but public morals as well," said Ken Connor, president of the Family Research Council, which filed a legal brief backing Texas. "The mere fact that this behavior occurs in private doesn't mean the public doesn't have a stake in these behaviors."
The 1986 Supreme Court ruling, Bowers v. Hardwick, upheld a Georgia state law that effectively made homosexual sexual behavior a crime. In 1998, however, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned that state law.
State laws have existed for more than a century
State sodomy laws have been on the books for a century or more, and generally define the act sodomy as "abnormal" sex, including oral and anal sex. Such laws were on the books of every state as recently as 1960.
Legal experts on both sides of the issue acknowledge such laws are rarely enforced, but can serve to underpin a basic message of morality in society that courts and government have supported.
The 1986 Bowers case focused on the right to privacy. By the time of Bowers, only half the states carried criminal sodomy laws, and now only a fourth do.
In a 1996 decision, Romer v. Evans, the court voted 6-3 to overturn a Colorado amendment that barred local governments from enacting ordinances to protect gays.
The case has entered the national political debate, stirred by recent comments from Sen. Rick Santorum. The Pennsylvania Republican told The Associated Press in May, "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery, you have the right to anything."
Santorum defended his remarks but some fellow Republicans distanced themselves from them.
The case is Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, case no. 02-0102).
If Texas said oral sex was against the law for everybody, the law would have been less troublesome to the Supremes.
COURT RULES ITS NO LONGER DEVIANT SEX BUT IT SLIPS INTO THE MAINSTREAM....
Indeed. Mark my words: This decision will be used by NAMBLA and other child molestors and child pornographers to challenge bans on sexual abuse of children.
Oh jeez, even on the right, people have to drag "the children" into every argument for emotional shock value.
This ruling is about consenting behavior between adults in private.
Child abuse and sexual age of consent laws are not affected in the least by this ruling
homosexuality demeans the lives of the persons.
Wait, lets get this straight, YOU WANT GOVERNMENT INTRUDING INTO YOUR BEDROOM?
That sounds a lot like socialism or communism to me.
They will be challenged based on this ruling. And it will continue to gain momentum. There is already a sizeable movement in the psychiatry and psychology industries to say that children can indeed consent to being molested and that it is not injurious to them. Once the idea takes hold that children like being molested, it then becomes a "victimless crime," and will be subject to this ruling.
One can disagree with this ruling without engaging in full blown hysterics.
This ruling only says that it is none of government's business what grownups do.Public "morality" (as opposed to "morality" in public places) is absolutely positively none of the government's business in a free society. As for "public health", that's the dodge the nanny state liberals would use to ban tobacco, "unhealthy" foods, "unsafe" hobbies, and probably alcohol if they thought they could get away with it.
Yeah. None of the state's business when they get together in gay bath-houses and engage in unprotected sex and then get the AIDS virus and then go on public assistance and use their insurance coverage to pay for the cost--which you pay for too. Yeah, public health and public morality are none of the state's business.
It's always seemed to me that it would be a bit sticky for states to enforce such laws without violating the 4th Amendment.