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Houston Voice, No. 1183, June 27, 2003
File 007
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Houston Voice, No. 1183, June 27, 2003 - File 007. 2003-06-27. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 17, 2017. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/721/show/678.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2003-06-27). Houston Voice, No. 1183, June 27, 2003 - File 007. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/721/show/678

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 1183, June 27, 2003 - File 007, 2003-06-27, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 17, 2017, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/721/show/678.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 1183, June 27, 2003
Contributor
  • Weaver, Penny
  • Crain, Chris
Publisher Window Media
Date June 27, 2003
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Rights In Copyright: This item is protected by copyright. Copyright to this resource is held by the creator or current rights holder, and the resource is provided here for educational purposes. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without permission of the copyright owner. Users assume full responsibility for any infringement of copyright or related rights.
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 007
Transcript b JUNE 27, 2003 www.houston voice.com HOUSTON VOICE national news Supreme Court overturns Texas sodomy law Ruling invalidates laws in 13 states By LOU CHIBBARO JR. In a sweeping victory for gay rights advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday overturned sodomy laws in 13 states, including Virginia, declaring that gay couples, as well as heterosexuals, have a constitutional right to privacy in the area of "private sexual conduct." Attorneys called the 6-3 decision in the case, known as Lawrence vs. Texas, a stunning victory for the gay rights movement because of the specific legal changes it will bring about and because of its strongly worded declaration on behalf of privacy rights for gays. "The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime," states the majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The case stems from a decision by two gay men from a Houston suburb to challenge the constitutionality of the Texas "homosexual conduct" law. The law makes it a crime for consenting adults of the same gender to have oral or anal sex in private, while allowing heterosexuals to commit the same acts legally. The two men, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner, were arrested by Harris County, Texas, sheriff's deputies on Sept. 17, 1998, after the deputies barged into the bedroom of Lawrence's apartment and observed the men engaging in anal intercourse. Authorities said they entered the apartment after receiving a call, which was later found to be false, that an armed intruder was on the premises. Both men pleaded "no contest" to the charge and were fined $200 each. The plea, which has the legal effect of a conviction, could have resulted in several states adding their names to police sex offender lists. "We are very pleased with the ruling," Lawrence said at a news conference Thursday. "We never chose to be public figures. This ruling allows us to From right, gay attorney Mitchell Katine, gay Houstonians John Lawrence and Tyron Garner, and Lambda Legal's Lee Taft leave a press conference held Thursday afternoon at the Houston GLBT Community Center. The session was held to brief members of the media on reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down Texas' anti-gay sodomy statute. (Photo by Penny Weaver) get on with our lives and opens the door for gay people across the country to be treated equally." Attorneys affiliated with Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, which represented Lawrence and Garner before the Supreme Court, argued that the Texas homosexual conduct law should be overturned on two grounds. One — the ground that the high court invoked in yesterday's decision — holds that the law violates the Constitution's Hth Amendment due process clause, which protects an individual's privacy rights. The second ground contended that the Texas law violates the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause because it singled out sodomy committed by same-sex couples and not heterosexual couples. Had the court chosen the equal protection clause, it would have overturned only the Texas sodomy law and sodomy laws in three other states — Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, all of which outlaw homosexu- Gay Houstonians John Lawrence (right) and Tyron Garner read a statement during a Thursday press conference in reaction to the Supreme Court decision on the case that originated in 1998 with the arrest of the two men. (Photo by Penny Weaver) al sodomy only. By choosing to overturn the Texas law on the "privacy" rights ground, the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws in the four states in which they apply only to gays as well as in nine more states, where the laws apply to both homosexuals and heterosexuals. The other states include Alabama. Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Utah. Also included in this category is Puerto Rico. Perhaps most important, the court's ruling overturns the court's own 1986 deci sion known as Bowers v. Hardwick. That decision upheld Georgia's sodomy law on grounds that the law did not violate the Constitution's Hth Amendment assurance of privacy rights. Gay rights activists viewed the Bowers decision as especially harsh and onerous because it couched its reasoning for rejecting the privacy rights argument in anti- gay rhetoric. "To hold that the act of homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching," then Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote in a concurring opinion. "It's a great victory for all Americans because now all Americans are protected from government intrusion into their bedrooms," said Paul Smith, a gay Washington attorney who argued the case on Lambda Legal's behalf before the court in March. "They didn't make the 'equal protection' argument because that argument didn't need to be reached," Smith said. "They said anybody, gay or straight, has a right to make choices about their sexual partners and their sexual practices in the privacy of their homes." Joining Kennedy in signing on to the majority opinion to overturn the Texas statute on "privacy" grounds were Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor filed a concurring opinion that supported overturning the Texas law, but based her opinion on the "equal protection" argument. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the dissenting opinion, with Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas signing on to Scalia's dissent. Thomas also filed a separate dissenting opinion. In his dissent, Scalia called the majority opinion a loss of the "people's right" to make laws through their elected leaders that take stands on "moral" issues. "It is clear from this that the court has taken sides in the cultural wars," Scalia said, in a statement he delivered from the bench, a departure from usual practice. Kennedy appeared to set the stage for the majority opinion when he described in his opinion the rationale for the decision. "The present case does not involve minors. It does not involve persons who might be injured or coerced or who are situated in relationships where consent might not be easily refused. It does not involve public conduct or prostitution... The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle. The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demand their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime." See imw.lioiBtriiivoice.ci*in for more on this stoay.
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