Supreme Court agrees to hear homosexual sex case

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by medea, Dec 5, 2002.

  1. medea macrumors 68030


    Aug 4, 2002
    Madison, Wi
    The Supreme Court said Monday it would consider whether states can punish homosexuals for having sex, a case that tests the constitutionality of sodomy laws in 13 states.

    The justices will review the prosecution of two men under a 28-year-old Texas law making it a crime to engage in same-sex intercourse.

    The Supreme Court has struggled with how much protection the Constitution offers in the bedroom. The court ruled 5-4 in 1986 that consenting adults have no constitutional right to private homosexual sex, upholding laws that ban sodomy.

    "Gay men and lesbians have been waiting for the opportunity to convince the court it should take a different view of their constitutional rights," Ruth E. Harlow, legal director of the New York-based Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, said Monday.

    The court faces several questions in the latest case. Among them: Is it an unconstitutional invasion of privacy for couples to be prosecuted for what they do in their own homes? Is it unconstitutional for states to treat gays and lesbians differently by punishing them for having sex while allowing heterosexual couples to engage in the same acts without penalties?

    Sodomy is defined as abnormal sex, in some states including anal and oral sex. Nine states ban consensual sodomy for everyone: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia. In addition, Texas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma punish only homosexual sodomy.

    States argue that the laws, some dating back more than 100 years, are intended to preserve public morals. The laws are rarely enforced.

    Lawyers for John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner said the men were bothering no one in 1998 when they were arrested in Lawrence's apartment, jailed overnight and later fined under Texas' Homosexual Conduct Law, which classifies anal or oral sex between two men or two women as deviate sexual intercourse.

    The men's lawyers said the convictions would prevent them from getting certain jobs, and would in some states require them to register as sex offenders. They were arrested after police responded to a false report of an armed intruder in Lawrence's apartment. Police entered the unlocked apartment and found the men having sex.

    Lawrence and Garner were fined $200 after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges.

    "The idea that a state may enter into American bedrooms and closely inspect the most intimate and private physical interactions ... is a stark affront to fundamental liberty that the court should end," said Harlow, one of the men's lawyers.

    Harlow said in court filings that the latest census found more than 600,000 households of same-sex partners in America, including about 43,000 in Texas. She said the Texas law treats gays as second-class citizens.

    William Delmore III, an assistant district attorney in Texas, said people who don't like the law should take it up with the Texas Legislature, not courts.

    He said homosexual sodomy has been considered criminal behavior for centuries. The conduct "could not conceivably have achieved the status of a fundamental right in the brief period of 16 years" since the Supreme Court last reviewed it, Delmore wrote in the state's court papers.

    Over the past decade, state courts have blocked sodomy laws in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Montana, and Tennessee. A Louisiana appeals court recently upheld that state's 197-year-old law banning all oral and anal sex.

    Delmore said the Texas law does not just target gays and lesbians. He said it also could be used for bisexuals and heterosexuals "who are tempted to engage in homosexual conduct." The law is part of Texas' "communal belief that the conduct is wrong and should be discouraged," he wrote in a filing.

    In a brief supporting Texas, the California-based Pro Family Law Center said states should be given leeway to protect the public from the spread of diseases like AIDS.

    Civil rights groups including the Human Rights Campaign urged the court to intervene, saying the laws are responsible for "stigmatizing gays and lesbians as outlaws" and "contribute to an atmosphere of hatred and violence" against gays.

    The case is Lawrence v. Texas, 02-102.
    These laws are fundamentally wrong and it's about time someone did something to change them, they are ancient laws that are unconstitutional and never should have been passed in the first place, how can we call ourselves a free country with laws like this still around? Imagine police breaking into your house under false pretenses and then giving you a $200 ticket because your wife was going down on you?
  2. vniow macrumors G4

    Jul 18, 2002
    I accidentally my whole location.
    Wow, I'm suprised these laws has lasted this long already, I hope the Supreme Court repeals all of them.

    Few if any people were prosecuted for all this stuff though, even if it is technically illegal. It's not that they had a slim chance to get punished, it's the idea and principle that pisses me off that they're still around.
  3. wwworry macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2002
    Texas Republican Party Platform Highlights

    # "The environment is best served by individuals working in their own best interest."
    # Repeal minimum-wage laws.
    # Phase out the Social Security system in favor of private re- tirement investment accounts.
    # Return the federal monetary system to the gold standard.
    # Repeal the law that allows people to register to vote when they apply for or renew driver's licenses.
    # "Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that have been ordained by God."
    # The U.S. Department of Education should be abolished.
    # Corporal punishment in Texas public schools is effective.
    # Prayer in school should be encouraged.
    # Abolish the National Endowment for the Arts.
    # End all forms of U.S. participation in the United Nations.

  4. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    it's amazing that laws regulating private behavior like this still exist. I fully hope the courts knock this down--

    ten years ago i thought we'd be seeing widespread gay marriage by now... ah well, all things in time i guess :)

  5. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus


    Oct 5, 2001
    San Diego, CA
    The fact that the discovery of the act infringed upon the men's civil rights not withstanding, the entire concept of consentual sexual acts as illegal is pretty ridiculous.

    These laws are supposed to uphold "public morals?!? Give me a break. These are the same people who look the other way when husbands are abusing their wives and molesting their daughters. :rolleyes:
  6. Switcher2001 macrumors member


    Oct 20, 2002
    Phoenix, AZ
    No blow jobs in New Orleans?

    What, you can't have oral sex in Louisiana, home of New Orleans, home of Mardi Gras, where guys get beads for pulling their dicks out on the street and gals get beads for showing their tits??? Puhleez!
  7. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    And I thought our laws were outdated here in the UK!! :eek: :eek: :eek:
  8. Moxiemike macrumors 68020


    Jan 1, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    This is why, instead of bombing Iraq, we should bomb texas.....quite simply but.

    The United States of Texas has always been frighteningly too big for it britches.
  9. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    Cliche`, I know, but whatever people feel like doing in the privacy of their own homes is nobody's business (unless someone's getting hurt, of course - unless they like that type of thing ;)). Why, my ex-girlfriend and I... uh, nevermind.

    Are they actually enforcing any of these laws? Because I know a couple of Girls Gone Wild/Mardi Gras videos that prove no one is enforcing those laws in New Orleans. The worst part is that with everything going on right now, people are actually taking the time to argue about this.

    Aren't we supposed to be fighting for "freedom"?

    Maybe some of these Lawmakers have a different idea of what true freedom really is.
  10. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    South Dakota, USA
    I hope the court does the right thing and gets rid of this garbage. The government should not be telling us what to do in the bedroom and who we can do it with.
  11. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020



    On my last trip to the in-laws in South Carolina, I drove over the speed limit continually, smoked dope occasionally, and got head intramaritally.

    Looks like I'm headed for the Post-Office walls!

    - does this Texas law say anything about having sex with sheep? (or is there a loophole for lonely cowboys?)
  12. BenderBot1138 macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2002
    Homosexual 28 year olds....

    Isn't George W. Bush 28?
  13. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    Re: Homosexual 28 year olds....

    You're getting his age mixed up with his I.Q.
  14. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2002
    "You're getting his age mixed up with his I.Q."

    LOL:D :D

    Or maybe 28 is the number of innocent people he hanged in Texas "just cause it's FUN!!!"
  15. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    Perhaps when the NAFTA agreement was signed, they should have given Texas to the Mexicans, along with the Bush family.

    I suppose they can have Floriduh too. I'll move back to Philly.

    As far as rights inside the home, they certainly don't seem to go after men beating their wives, do they? What about parents abusing their children? They don't look into much of that, especially here in Florduh.

    The state took away the ability of counties or communities to create laws against driving while talking on the phone because it was "an invasion of individual freedom."
  16. Santiago macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2002
    Mountain View, California
    Hey now! :mad: Stop bashing Texas as a whole. Austin is a perfectly nice place to live (full of students, programmers, and pot-smoking hippies). The rest of Texas you can bash all you want. ;) (The best part about Texas being so big is that the rest of state is far away from Austin.)
  17. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2002
    Sorry, man. You're right. We shouldn't generalize. My problem isn't with Texas, it's with the mindset of some of the people running legislations there. My bad. :(
  18. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    Texas as a whole is similar to other country's bashing America as a whole, like there's a giant, all-encompassing mindset, both easy and ignorant.

    I was born just south of Dallas (Waxahachie), but move to the Northeast soonafter. When I returned in the 3rd grade, I loved it, had a blast. I moved away after 2 years and didn't return until the summer between college years. The undercurrent of racism there (nod, nod, wink, wink) was very disturbing and I never plan on going back, but I'm not going to write off the whole giant state because of that (I LOVED San Antonio). I've run into the same kind of ugliness in parts of Pennsylvania. Ugliness is everywhere. Thank goodness we can choose our friends.... - j
  19. diorio macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2002
    Focus on the topic or people are going to get pissed off and this thread will be closed.
  20. vniow macrumors G4

    Jul 18, 2002
    I accidentally my whole location.
    diorio, chill. Didn't you see the smileys?

    If all off-topic threads are to be closed, then your 'Star Wars Attack of The Clones Documenteries and Extras' would have been shut down awhile ago.
  21. diorio macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2002
    Ah ha, but was I pissing anyone off in my thread?.;) Or changing the topic to the general thing that every political discussion changes into.

    Bush Sucks!
    Gore Sucks!
    You Suck!
    Shut up!
    No you shut up!

    Moderator comes along

    How did this start from "should stupid laws discriminating against gays be abolished"?

    I don't know, he started it.

    I did not! You started it.

    Shut up!
    No you shut up!

    **** you!

    thread closed.:rolleyes:
  22. medea thread starter macrumors 68030


    Aug 4, 2002
    Madison, Wi
    Ok Diorio your kinda helping this thread get off topic yourself so lets just drop it....
    I'm really glad to hear that everyone backs up this case and no religous zealots have chimed in yet to tell us how we should be ashamed of oral and anal sex (the latter of which I have no personal experience.) This is the first time I have actually heard of such laws being enforced, but even if they are not enforced they still should not be around anymore and I can't imagine that they will be for very much longer. Any politician that trys to back these up must have a carreer death wish......
    on a side note, do any laws of this nature exist in washington? if so how did Clinton get away with it:D
  23. diorio macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2002
    Okay then, I think it is sad that we still have these laws, we promote freedom for all yet things like this still exist, very sad.:(
  24. pantagruel macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2002
    here and there
    yik-es, I've read about these silly laws in magazines and such but they have always been a joke, I mean those police officers actually took it seriously? what the hell, I would have been embarrased and would have apologized real fast and got the heck out of there. the nerve.:mad:
  25. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    I personally believe that homosexuality is wrong, but the government has no business passing laws to stop the practice. I have to account for my own actions not the actions of others. The Constitution has given us personal freedom, its the extreme left and right that has taken this away. Ameicans are in the middle are are tolerant as long as it doesen't effect them. It should not be done in public.

    Abortion is the same issue. Pro Choice which is actually pro abortion. I'm against it personally. We should not make laws to antagonize either side.
    There's a whole list of laws along the same line.

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