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Activists
Celebrate Fifth Anniversary of 'Lawrence' Decision

Activists
Celebrate Fifth Anniversary of 'Lawrence' Decision

Thursday marked the five-year anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing consensual gay sex to be decriminalized nationwide.

Thursday marked the five-year anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing consensual gay sex to be decriminalized nationwide. The 6-3 decision in Lawrence v. Texas overturned a Texas law that made it illegal to engage in same-sex sodomy. The court said upholding consensual gay sexual conduct was in line with the U.S. Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment equal-protection clause, since the state didn't prohibit heterosexual sodomy.

The men at the center of the case, John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner, were arrested for sodomy in 1998, fined $200 each, and imprisoned for one night. Police were responding to a call from a disgruntled neighbor who faked a distress call. Police went to the apartment, pushed in the door, and found the two men engaged in anal sex, which was then a punishable offense.

Paul Smith, the attorney who represented the couple, told the Dallas Voice that liberties expanded to gays in the past five years are at least in part a result of the overturning of Texas's sodomy law by the 2003 Lawrence decision.

"I think the amount of progress we have made in the last five years is quite large overall, the progress both culturally and legally," Smith said in the article. "It's to the point now where we have the Democratic candidate advocating an end to [the federal Defense of Marriage Act] and marriage starting to happen in California, and basically the people in Massachusetts are so used to marriage, it's not even an issue anymore."

As recently as 1960, all states had a sodomy law, but by 2003, 37 states had repealed the laws or state courts had overturned them. (The Advocate)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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