Supreme Court Won't
Uphold N.Y. Sodomy Law
Washington, D.C. — The US. Supreme
Court refused May 18 to disturb a Mew York
Court of Appeals ruling that had struck
down the Mew York sodomy law as unconstitutional.
As a result, the Mew York decision is now
final and can serve as a precedent for court
challenges to sodomy laws in some two
dozen states, including Texas.
The Supreme Court action contrasted
with its earlier decisions on sodomy laws.
Within the past five years, it had upheld a
lower Federal court's decision ruling Virginia's
sodomy law constitutional and had dismissed an appeal seeking to have North Carolina's law stricken.
Several gay legal authorities stated that
they feel the Supreme Courts recent sodomy decisions show a reluctance by the
court to decide the issues and a willingness
to let lower courts do as they see fit
One gay rights lawyer expressed disappointment at the May 18 ruling, asserting
that he would rather have a final Supreme
Court decision, even if it upheld sodomy
This recent ruling came in the case of
People v. Onofre and was technically a
denial without dissent of the prosecutor's
petition for a writ of certiorari (permission to
Law Students to Discuss
Law Students for Human Rights is
sponsoring a lecture and discussion on
June 24 at 7:00 p.m. for Gay Pride Week in
the Charles I. Francis Auditorium in the law
building on the UT. campus. Recent ratings
on the constitutionality of state laws banning homosexual activity, the success rate
of these cases, and strategy for future suits
will be discussed.
Activities of the Law Students for Human
Rights include legal research for individuals
and agencies, seminars and discussions.
films, and speakers. The annual Sandwich
Seminar presents several speakers discussing gay issues. Thisyear's seminar was held
on March 24-25. The topics were the
American Bar Association's "Good Moral
Character'' Requirement and Private Practice by Gay- and Lesbian-identified Attorneys.
The gay law student group will also
exhibit materials on "The Legal Rights of
Gay People'' June 18-30 in the display case
in the law school library lobby.
For more information, contact Law Students for Human Rights, UT, School of Law
Annex #8, 727 E. 26th, Austin TX 78705,
*>8 c west 12 th st
Austin. t€JAS 78703
Flood Damages Red
River Women's Press
The Austin Memorial Day Flood of May
24-25 damaged darkroom equipment and
offset presses at Red River Women's Press,
908-C W 12th.
As cleanup operations were underway,
several people met at WomenSpace on
June 1 to plan a benefit to help Red River
Women's Press recover from the damage.
D.A. Equates Gays
With Thieves and Rapists
Dallas County District Attorney Henry
Wade filed a motion for summary judgement in Baker v. Wade, the legal challenge
to the Texas Homosexual Conduct Statute.
Penal Code Section 21.06. in May. Wade
stated that to argue that gay people are
discriminated against because the legislature has criminalized homosexual activity is
analogous to claiming that thieves and
rapists are discriminated against because
of laws against such crimes.
M, Robert Schwab, President of the Texas
Human Rights Foundation, responded, "to
equate private consensual sexual activity
with violent acts like rape shows the depth
of prejudice existing against gay people. If
the state would focus its police enforcement
power toward crimes of violence, instead of
activity which takes place in the privacy of
the bedroom, we would all live in a safer
A decision on Defendant Wade's motion
is expected in the next several weeks. Trial
is currently scheduled for June 15, 1981 in
Five out ofthe seven candidates endorsed
by the Austin Lesbian Gay Political Caucus
were victorious in their election bids on
April 4 and May 2.
In Place 1, neighborhood activist Larry
Deuser won the May 2 runoff in a landslide
62% of the vote, defeating former iobbyist
Bob Duke. Deuser defeated original ALGPC
endorsee Mike Guerrero in the April 4
In Place 2. environmentalist Roger Dun
can won April 4 with a startling 60% ofthe
vote, defeating used-car dealer Louis
"Bubba'' Henna, who had gone on record
in the Daily Texan as opposing including
gays in the Austin Fair Housing Ordinance.
In Place4. incumbent Richard Goodman
won the primary with 62% of the vote.
defeating anti-ERA. anti-choice Rollin Mc
Crae and Joan Bartz. former aide to Texas
Democatic Party Chair candidate David
Samuelson. who ran on an anti-gay platform.
In Place 5. Johnny Trevino, incumbent
council member, won April 4 a reelection
bid against well-financed opponent Mark
Rose. Trevino fought to include sexual
orientation' in the Fair Housing Ordinance
In Place 6, Dr. Charles (Jrdy, a professor
of chemistry at Huston-Tillotson College,
won May 2 with 64% of the vote against
1950s and early 1960s activist Bertha
ALGPC endorsed Mayoral Candidate Bob
Binder lost to incumbent Carole Keeton
McClellan with 46% of the vote. McClellan
spent over $200,000 in her reelection bid to
Binder's $80,000. Most of her money came
from Austin developers and banking interests. McClellan, fought against including
gays in the Fair Housing Ordinance in 1977
and spearheaded the drive to oust lesbian
activist Janna Zumbrun from the Human
Place 3 candidate Marcos de Leon lost
the primary to incumbent Ron Mullen.
With five endorsed candidates now on
the City Council, the ALGPC plans to move
quickly to rewrite the Austin Fair Housing
Ordinance to include protection of gays
and to strengthen the ordinance s enforcement provisions to make fair housing
a reality for all the citizens of Austin.
Texas Human Rights
Foundation Attacks 21.06
The Texas Human Rights Foundation
(THRF) is a non-profit tax-exempt, public
interest litigating corporation chartered by
the state of Texas. Contributions are tax
deductible under section 170 of the Internal
Formerly the Houston Human Rights
Defense Foundation, the organization was
enlarged to statewide status in June of
1978. The foundation's chartered purpose
is to fight discrimination based on sex. race,
creed, national origin, age. handicap, or
THRF president M. Robert Schwab. Ph.D..
of Houston, reports that 1980 was a spectacular year of growth for the foundation,
which filed a constitutional challenge to the
Texas Homosexual Conduct Statute. Penal
Code Section 21.06.
The Foundation's legal work in the case
is proceeding well and the group has high
hopes of voiding this ill-conceived law."
Schwab says. "We appreciate the trust
you have shown in us by giving your
financial support Fund raising has increased
both in terms of amounts collected and
contributors participating."' In late 1980.
THRF announced the receipt of a gift
valued in excess of $7,500. which is believed
to be the largest single contribution ever
received by a Texas gay organization.
Cinder Texas law. private consensual
sexual conduct between adults is legal
except between people of the same sex.
THRF is sponsoring a challenge to Penal
Code Section 21.06 in Dallas federal district
court The case. Baker v. Wade, is scheduled
for trial beginning June 15. 1981. Certification of the defendant class — Texas, city .
and county attorneys — was accomplished.
and a challenge to the standing of the
plaintiff to bring the suit has been overcome.
The plaintiff. Donald F. Baker, seeks to
have Section 21.06 declared unconstitutional and barred from enforcement on the
grounds that it violates an individuals right
to privacy, due process and equal protection
as guaranteed by the first ninth and fourteenth amendments to the US. Constitution.
The foundation has made the case its top
priority. By making gay Texans de facto
criminals. 21.06 is the justification used for
discrimination in employment child custody, housing, immigration and many other
Moreover, the existence of such a law
casts a broad shadow over the lives of some
of society's most responsible and productive
citizens — gay people. Recognizing this.
THRF is using this case as a means of
educating the public about discriminatian
against homosexuals. Through public appearances by community leaders and dissemination of the trial testimony of expert
witnesses. THRF hopes to sensitize the
public to the issues the case presents.
THRF has assisted in formulating case
strategy, selecting expert witnesses, and
funding the costs of litigation. The foundation recognizes the immense commitment
needed to see the effort to fruition, and is
prepared to pursue the case through the
appellate court system, if necessary. It
should be noted that the Mew York Court of
Appeals, the highest court in that state,
recently struck down the New York sodomy
law on the grounds that it infringed upon
the individual's right of privacy and the
equal protection provisions of the US.
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