Court Test of Gay Rights vs. Traditional Values ; Landmark Sodomy Case Holds Implications for Privacy Rights and Definition of Marriage

By Warren Richey writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, March 25, 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Court Test of Gay Rights vs. Traditional Values ; Landmark Sodomy Case Holds Implications for Privacy Rights and Definition of Marriage


Warren Richey writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Responding to a report of a possible gunman, Houston police burst into an apartment and discover, instead, two men engaged in a sex act.

The activity is consensual, and within the privacy of one of the men's own home. Nonetheless, the two are charged with violating Texas' homosexual-conduct statute that outlaws "deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex."

Both men, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner, are held overnight in jail and fined $200.

The matter might have ended there, but the men decided to appeal their case. They argued that Texas was violating the constitutional rights of gays by prosecuting them for engaging in behaviors that are not illegal under Texas law if practiced by heterosexual couples.

In a potential landmark case, the US Supreme Court will examine Wednesday whether the Texas law violates the equal protection and privacy rights of homosexuals, or whether the law is, instead, a legitimate attempt by the state to uphold its view of sexual morality, family values, and traditional marriage.

Supporters of the law say there is no fundamental right in the Constitution to engage in certain homosexual acts. To strike down the Texas law, they say, could create such a right and lay the legal groundwork for recognition of same-sex marriages.

Opponents of the law say among the most fundamental of rights guaranteed in the Constitution is the right to be let alone. The government does not enjoy the unfettered power to intrude into the most intimate and private aspects of what happens in American bedrooms, they say.

"What we are asking for is to not have the police prosecute you for choosing one particular way to express your love for someone else in private," says Ruth Harlow of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a gay-rights legal group representing the two men.

Some groups promoting family values and traditional marriage see in the case the thin edge of a wedge that could undermine favored treatment of male-female marriage by state lawmakers.

"[This case] could have broad implications not just for the 13 states that have sodomy laws, but for the marriage laws in every state," says Joshua Baker of the Marriage Law Project at Catholic University Law School.

In addition to Texas, three other states - Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma - make it a crime for gays to engage in sodomy. Nine other states make those same acts illegal for both gays and heterosexuals. The states are: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Court Test of Gay Rights vs. Traditional Values ; Landmark Sodomy Case Holds Implications for Privacy Rights and Definition of Marriage
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.