Log Cabin files brief in Texas sodomy case

BY Advocate.com Editors

January 09 2003 12:00 AM ET

Gay political group Log Cabin Republicans and its sister organization, the Liberty Education Forum, announced Wednesday that they will file an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court concerning Lawrence v. Texas, according to a press release from Log Cabin. The case challenges Texas's Homosexual Conduct Law, which criminalizes oral and anal sex between consenting gay adults.

"The liberties guaranteed to all Americans by the United States Constitution mean that no state should have the power to enter the home of consenting adults in the middle of the night and arrest them for simply being gay or lesbian," said Log Cabin executive director Patrick Guerriero. "The court was wrong in 1986, and it now has the opportunity to fix that error."

In 1986 the Supreme Court ruled in Bowers v. Hardwick that Georgia's law banning consensual sodomy did not violate fundamental privacy rights under the Constitution. Since that time, many states (including the state of Georgia) have repealed their sodomy laws, or the laws have been found unconstitutional on state constitutional grounds. Seldom enforced, these laws have been used as an excuse to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians in civil and administrative matters.

The Log Cabin-Liberty brief argues that Texas's Homosexual Conduct Law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Under the Equal Protection Clause, all legislation must be rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose. Since the court's decision in Romer v. Evans in 1996, the court has held that community "morality" against homosexuality could not constitute a "legitimate governmental purpose." In Lawrence v. State of Texas, morality is the only reason the state of Texas has given to justify the Homosexual Conduct Law.

In addition to Texas, three other states--Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma--continue to have consensual anti-sodomy laws that apply only to same-sex couples. Nine states--Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Utah--still have consensual sodomy laws that apply to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

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