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Montrose Voice, No. 33, June 12, 1981
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Montrose Voice, No. 33, June 12, 1981 - File 006. 1981-06-12. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 10, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3131/show/3119.

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.

(1981-06-12). Montrose Voice, No. 33, June 12, 1981 - File 006. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3131/show/3119

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.

Montrose Voice, No. 33, June 12, 1981 - File 006, 1981-06-12, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 10, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3131/show/3119.

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 Montrose Voice, No. 33, June 12, 1981
Contributor
  • McClurg, Henry
Publisher Community Publishing Company
Date June 12, 1981
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 22329406
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 006
Transcript June 12,1981 / Montrose Voice 5 The State Section 21.06 trial set for Monday DALLAS—A 9:30 a.m., June 15, docket setting was given for the constitutionality trial in federal district court for section 21.06 of the Texas Penal Code, said a spokesperson for the Texas Human Rights Foundation. Earlier, THRF had said it was unsure when the trail would begin, saying it could be as late as July 1. Gay activists have been looking forward to the trial since the federal suit was filed two years ago. Section 21.06 is the "homosexual conduct statute," also known as the sodomy statute, which, according to THRF, "legalizes the invasion of privacy" by state officials and "encourages police harassment by identifying the entire gay community as a criminal sub-culture which would be singled out for 'special attention' by law enforcement officials." The foundation is one of the principle backers ofthe 21.06 challenge. They said the statute "violates the individual's rights to privacy, due process and equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the first, fifth, ninth and fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution." Dallas activist Donald F. Baker, 33, a Navy veteran and former school teacher, filed the suit against the county and city district attorneys of Texas as a group. The suit is also known as Baker vs. Wade, as Henry Wade is the district attorney for Dallas County. The Texas legislature adopted the Model Penal Code of the American Law Institute in 1973 but added to it the sodomy statute, which the model code did not include. Said a THRF official, "This suit is known as a 'class action' suit because all district attorneys and all city attorneys in the state are grouped as defendants. The fact that Henry Wade's name appears as the representative of the 'defendant class' is quite approrpriate. Under his leadership, the Dallas District Attorney's Office is well known for its prejudice and unequal treatment of gay defendants." According to a THRF press release, Wade had argued in court documents already filed that to say gay people are discriminated against because the legislature criminalized homosexual activity is analagous to claiming that thieves and rapists are discriminated against because of laws against those crimes. Robert Schwab, president of THRF, answered with, "To equate private consensual sexual activity with violent acts like rape shows the depth and 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 ofthe bedroom, we would all live in a safer world." THRF has assisted in formulating case strategy, selecting expert witnesses and funding the costs of litigtion. Schwab said they were also prepared ot pursue the case through the appellate court system if necessary. Baker, who recently received a masters degree from Southern Methodist University, addressed delegates to the Gay Press Association convention in early May and emphasized the national importance of the case. He said this would the first time that a state criminal statute aimed solely at gay men and women was under direct attack on the proposition that its very existence is unconstitutional. He said the final court decision would eventually affect other states with a similar law. The Texas Human Rights Foundation said that in court documents released in Baker's suit, the State of Texas asserts that "private consensual (sexual) acts have never been the subject prosecution." THRF said that the State's claim is untrue. "This is simply incorrect," said Schwab. "We have documented a significant number of prosecutions of private homosexual conduct." Schwab said that the State has further challenged the jurisdiction of the federal courts to hear the case by claiming that the law meets all constitutional requirements. Schwab said that the Attorney General contends "the rationality ofthe statute ... would be that (homosexual) activity would interfere with the basis premise of society, the survival of the people ... should homoseuxal conduct become too widespread, society would lose the means of reproducing itself." Schwab noted, "This reasoning contradicts recent court decisions regarding abortion and contraception and is based upon a naive concept of human sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular." "The belief that homosexuality can be compared to a disease and is therefore capable of being spread has been soundly rejected by the medical and psychiatric community. Uninformed attitudes such as these are the basis for repressive legislation and prejudice against gay people," Schwab said. Another court document filed on behalf of the State paid a considerable compliment to the political success of the gay rights movement, said Schwab. Wade, in a motion for summary judgement before a Dallas federal judge, reportedly said, "The gay rights movement seemed to exercise a considerable amount of influence in the 1980 election, thus opening an avenue of approach to the state legislature to address the feasibility for the continued need to proscribe homosexual conduct." Wade reportedly continued, arguing for the necessity of laws against private homosexual acts between consenting adults, citing "the deaths and abuse of young men by homosexuals and violence associated with homosexual conduct in general." Wade was said to have described sodomy as "abominable and detestable crime against nature." Since 1960,23 states are said to have eliminated laws similar to the Texas law. The latest was New York when the U.S. Supreme Court May 18 left intact a state ruling there, without comment, declaring the New York anti-sodomy law unconstitutional. The New York law, like the Texas law, made it a crime to engage in sodomy, which they defined as "deviate sexual activity," which in turn was defined as "anal or oral sex between persons not married to one another." The case involved a man who was arrested and convicted for violating the law and who in fact admitted engaging in sexual activity with another adult male, but in the privacy of his home. He claimed the law violated his constitutional right to privacy and claimed that he had a right to doo whatever he wanted in the privacy of his home. The State of New York in its defense used a recent southern case where the Supreme Court of Virginia upheld a similar law without even writing an opinion. The New York Court refused to go along with Virginia and pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down statutes forbidding the use of contraceptives by married and unmarried couples. The New York court said that personal sexual conduct is a fundamental right which must be protected by the right of privacy, because of the transcendental importance of sex to the human condition, the intimacy of the conduct, and its relationship to a person's right to control his or her own body. The court said that sexual activity caried on in an atmopshere of privacy has little likelihood of offending the public. The court also said there's no proof that such conduct is destructive to traditional principle of family and marriage. Commented Boston attorney Neil J. Chayet, who specializes in the field of health law: "And so the court reversed the conviction, overturned the law, and in the state of New York, at least, what goes on in your bedroom won't be replayed in the court room." In 1974, the American Psychiatric Association passed a resolution supporting the repeal of criminal statutes singling out homosexual acts by consenting adults in private, saying in its resolution that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and implies no impairment in judgement, reliability or general social or vocational capability. In addition, more than thirty professional, social and religious groups have endorsed similar statements, including the Aemrican Bar Association, American Medical Association, National Council of Churches, United Church of Christ. A Louis Harris survey conducted in 1978 found that 70% of the public believed that homosexual relations between consenting adults in private should not be penalized by law, said THRF. More than 120 corporations have amended their anti-discrimination polices following an investigation by the National Gay Task Force, to include lesbians and gay men- Included in this group are Exxon, IBM, Bank of America, Proctor & Gamble, Adolph Coors Co. and American Airlines. Yes folks, it's Minnesota Fats himself at the pool table. Are gay people getting more professional in their pool playing in the bars'' Yes, says Trend columnist Henry McClurg. Read Trend this issue, page 15. The MONTROSE VOICE is published every Friday. Offices: 3520 Montrose, suite 227, Houston, TX 77006. Phone (713) 529-8490. Contents copyright ©1981. Office hours: l-8pm. Henry McClurg, publisher/editor. Member Gay Press Association and Texas Gay News Association. Items appearing in the Voice accredited to Copley News Service, San Francisco Chronicle Features Syndicate, Surburban Features, or United Feature Syndicate are copyright by those concerns and are purchased by the Voice for use in this newspaper. All other items in the Voice are copyright by the Montrose Voice. POSTMASTER: Send address corrections to 3520 Montrose, suite 227, Houston, TX 77006. Subscription rate in US: $39 per year, 52 issues, or $24 for six months, 26 issues. Houston advertising representatives: Randy Brown, "Smokey" Ron Ray, Joe Keener. Texas advertising representatives: Jim Olinger and Wade Frey, Connections, 2401 Manor Road, #118, Austin 78722, (512) 474-1660; Roy Hall, Metro Times, POB 225915, Dallas 75265, (214) 528-9944. National advertising representative: Joe DiSabato, Rivendell Marketing, 666 6th Avenue, New York 10011, (212) 242-6863. Advertising deadline: Every Tuesday, 7:00pm, for issue to be released three days later.
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