So Do My Heroes
December 28, 2011 8:11 AM Subscribe
The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government. - Justice Anthony KennedyJohn Geddes Lawrence, the defendant in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that declared sodomy laws unconstitutional across the country, died on Nov. 20, according to an obituary posted by R.S. Farmer Funeral Home in Silsbee, Texas. He was 68.
In 1998, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner were arrested in Lawrence’s Houston home and jailed overnight after officers responding to a false report found the men having sex. The two men were convicted of violating Texas’s “Homosexual Conduct” law, which made it a crime for two people of the same sex to have oral or anal sex, even though those sex acts were legal in Texas for people to engage in with persons of a different sex. Lambda Legal quickly responded to represent Lawrence and Garner. Battling for years in the Texas courts, we sought to overturn the criminal convictions (which made the two men registerable “sex offenders” in several states) and to have Texas’s law declared unconstitutional. When the highest court in Texas eventually refused to even hear our arguments, we convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case. In a stunning victory, the highest court in the land found the “Homosexual Conduct” law unconstitutional and established, for the first time, that lesbians and gay men share the same fundamental liberty right to private sexual intimacy with another adult that heterosexuals have.
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