June 27, 2003
Supreme Court Overturns Sodomy Laws of 13 States

The men who challenged the Texas law ''are entitled to respect for their private lives,'' Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. ''The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.''

In a rare reversal of a past ruling, the majority concluded that the court's backing of anti-sodomy laws 17 years ago "was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today." Kennedy cited "an emerging awareness that liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in [sexual] matters."

Of the 13 states with sodomy laws, four--Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri--prohibit oral and anal sex between same-sex couples. Consensual sodomy is banned for everyone in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

By a 6-3 vote, the court overturned a 1986 ruling that endorsed anti-sodomy laws. The decision changes the legal landscape for homosexuals by declaring that the Constitution's guarantee of liberty forbids government from targeting their sexual practices.

Posted by tstubbs at June 27, 2003 11:27 AM | Trackback
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