High court divided on gay sex ban

Reply Wed 26 Mar, 2003 05:46 pm
High court divided on gay sex ban
Copyright © 2003 AP Online
By ANNE GEARAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (March 26, 2003 3:13 p.m. EST) - The Supreme Court should reverse course and strike down a ban on homosexual sex as outdated, discriminatory and harmful, a lawyer for two men arrested in their bedroom argued Wednesday.

The court appeared deeply divided over a Texas law that makes it a crime for gay couples to engage in sex acts that are legal for heterosexual couples. The court was widely criticized for a ruling 17 years ago that upheld a similar sodomy ban.

States should not be able to single out one group and make their conduct illegal solely because the state dislikes that conduct, lawyer Paul Smith argued for the Texas men.

"There is a long history of the state making moral judgments," retorted Justice Antonin Scalia. "You can make it sound very puritanical," but the state may have good reasons, Scalia added.

"Almost all laws are based on disapproval of some people or conduct. That's why people regulate," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist added dryly.

Justice Stephen Breyer challenged Houston prosecutor Charles Rosenthal to justify why the state has any interest in peeping into the bedrooms of gay people.

"Why isn't that something the state has no business in, because it isn't hurting anybody?" Breyer asked.

The state has an interest in protecting marriage and family and promoting the birth of children, Rosenthal replied. "Texas can set bright line moral standards for its people."

A large crowd stood in line outside the court before the oral arguments in hopes of getting a scarce seat for one of the court's biggest cases this year. A knot of protesters stood apart, holding signs that read "AIDS is God's revenge," "God sent the sniper" and other messages.

State anti-sodomy laws, once universal, now are rare. Those on the books are infrequently enforced but underpin other kinds of discrimination, lawyers and gay rights supporters said.

"We truly hope the Supreme Court in its wisdom will remove this mechanism that has been used for so long to obstruct basic civility to gay and lesbian people," said Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the gay rights organization Human Rights Campaign.

In 1986, a narrow majority of the court upheld Georgia's sodomy law in a ruling that became a touchstone for the growing gay rights movement. Even then the court's decision seemed out of step and was publicly unpopular, said Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, who argued on the losing side of the case.

"We're now dealing with a very small handful of statutes in a circumstance where the country, whatever its attitudes toward discrimination based on sexual orientation, (has reached) a broad consensus that what happens in the privacy of the bedroom between consenting adults is simply none of the state's business."

As recently as 1960, every state had a sodomy law. In 37 states, the statutes have been repealed by lawmakers or blocked by state courts.

Of the 13 states with sodomy laws, four - Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri - prohibit "deviate sexual intercourse," or oral and anal sex, between same-sex couples. The other nine ban consensual sodomy for everyone: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

An unusual array of organizations is backing the two Texas men. In addition to a long list of gay rights, human rights and medical groups, a group of conservative Republicans and the libertarian Cato Institute and Institute for Justice argued in friend of the court filings that government should stay out of the bedroom.

"This case is an opportunity to confirm that the constitutional command of equal protection requires that gays be treated as equal to all other citizens under the law, subject to neither special preferences nor special disabilities," the brief for the Republican Unity Coalition said.

On the other side, the Texas government and its allies say the case is about the right of states to enforce the moral standards of their communities.

"The states of the union have historically prohibited a wide variety of extramarital sexual conduct," Texas authorities argued in legal papers. Nothing in that legal tradition recognizes "a constitutionally protected liberty interest in engaging in any form of sexual conduct with whomever one chooses," the state argued.

Conservative legal and social organizations, religious groups and the states of Alabama, South Carolina and Utah back Texas in the case.

The case began in 1998, when a neighbor tricked police with a false report of a black man "going crazy" in John Geddes Lawrence's apartment. Police pushed their way in and found Lawrence having anal sex with another man, Tyron Garner.

Although Texas rarely enforced its antisodomy law, officers decided to book the two men and jail them overnight on charges of "deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex." They were each fined $200 plus court costs.

The case is Lawrence v. Texas, 02-102.

For current U.S. Supreme Court decisions, visit www.supremecourtus.gov or supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/.
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Reply Wed 26 Mar, 2003 07:21 pm
I doubt that the Supreme Court would have agreed to hear this case if the argument was about "...the right of states to enforce...moral standards" And it isn't an issue of the police peeping into people's bedrooms.
The decision in this case will come, I guess, in about six months.
It seems to me that this could be one of the Court's major actions.
If the appeal is successful, the Court will, essentially, recognize homosexuals as a segment of our population with the same rights as the rest of us.
Would you believe that it took me about a half an hour to write this.
Imagine when we get into the political ramifications of new justices being nominated in the midst of the next presidential campaign.
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Reply Mon 12 May, 2003 10:18 am
An exo opinion; this is a "no brainer"; it's hard to believe that U.S. "human rights legislation" does not include a ban on sexual discrimination!
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Reply Mon 12 May, 2003 11:18 am
Ahhh, so I see it's suddenly a States Rights court again.
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Reply Fri 26 Sep, 2003 08:03 pm
its got to do with their religion
these people are predominately christian, and therefore believe that everyone needs to follow their laws. I am not a homosexual, but its not my place to tell them that they cannot be a homosexual.
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Reply Fri 26 Sep, 2003 11:16 pm
Can that state go any more redneck? Methinks not.
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Reply Sat 27 Sep, 2003 06:39 pm
whats the prob bob?
Georga is full of homophobes apparentialy. Redneck homophobes at that.

How can you like inbreading and be against being gay. Brother and Sister is a little worse in my eyes.

Im joking of coarse, I would seriously doubt that the state was built on such practices. Laughing
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Reply Sat 27 Sep, 2003 06:58 pm
Maybe bestiality, since Bush Jnr must be half monkey.
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Reply Sat 27 Sep, 2003 07:02 pm
Wilso wrote:
Maybe bestiality, since Bush Jnr must be half monkey.

Man, thats golden. I can imagin him as a pissed of monkey throwing his **** around at people who wont conform to the estqablishment.

Not to say that Sadam was a threat, by all means he was. But Bush could have done a better job, and shared the costs with the glory(oil) and power.
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Reply Fri 13 Feb, 2004 07:09 pm
I don't think that I would have touched this subject until my father came over this evening telling me all about this issue. We did not agree. Personally, I honestly don't care what other people decide to do in their bedroom. I don't feel that because someone is gay does not equate to pedifile. I do not believe that anyone can influence inherent sexual preference by influence. I do not think any individual that does their work to company standard should be fired on the basis of sexual orientation.

My father feels differently. He feels that the issue of gay marriage makes a mockery of a sacred bond between heterosexual couples and values of family. He feels that if business does not wish for gay people to represent their company, they should have the right to fire them on the basis of sexual preference. He feels this is a psychological abnormality that should not be accepted as normal human behavior. He felt that they only wish to marry to share financial benefits, such as pension, health insurance, SS, and on.

Again, I disagree. I do not feel heterosexual individuals get married for what little benefits that married people can give to a spouse. As a heterosexual, I sure wouldn't marry anyone to get health insurance! I seriously doubt gay couples do either.

I also disagree on his point of psychological abnormality. If they are not psychotic, how can they be so abnormal as my father thinks? I'm way hetro and it makes me ill if I thought I had to perform a sexual act with another woman. I find it repulsive. Gay people probably find sex with an opposite sex partner, which they may feel does not understand them at all as a same sex partner would and have no sexual attraction towards, may very well make them ill as well. I don't know. I'm not gay.

I am strongly in favor of allowing gay marriage. It is none of anyone's concern who does what in their bedroom, including my own bedroom and choice of a hetro sexual partner, even if I choose a man only for entertainment. No one can chose my sexual partner or fire me for having a list a mile long, if that is what I wish being hetro. I can have multiple sex partners and no one would say anything beyond name calling, slut. If you are male, it is called stud, with no social ramifications at all. Gay people can't do that though. They do have the same choices, but not the same rights or social acceptance for their privacy. I think gay people deserve the same right.

Since I am not gay, I can only guess. I would think that they want their relationship validated by law and social view as serious and valid. As a woman, most people do not have the same respect for a relationship if I choose to live with a man than marry one. When a man does not marry a woman, the relationship is treated as 'up for grabs' by any man who wishes to intrude, wanted or not, but they stay away from married women. Women in live-in relationships are not taken seriously of their commitment to their partner as a married individual receives. We all know that.

Gay people are forced into live-in relationships, which are difficult to work. The exact same rule applies. No one takes live-in relationships too seriously. I don't blame them for asking for more respect for their bond of love for each other. Marital law is pretty clear cut. Live in law with a split up is extremely expensive with many areas of the law to dispute property ownership, which is extremely expensive and lengthy.

Then there is the sodomy issue. Many heterosexual partners participate in this. It may have originated out of religion influencing law. I do think it ended up as something extra to use for the purpose of rape cases to further their sentence in prison today. personally, I would feel much more violated if a man raped me using standard vaginal sex than if a man also sodomized me. I do think the magnitude of assault of a rape should be considered by law. I think it should only be used in cases of rape to describe magnitude of sexual exploitation with force as well as the degree of brutality it took to rape a woman. I'm not quite sure how to put that one in legal terms. Sodomy should only be considered in rape cases, but it should. I do feel that the degree of sexual exploitation by force and degree of force used should have a legal standard to appropriately punish those guilty of this crime.

In favor of gay rights and gay marriage. I have no gay friends, but that is my choice. I do feel this is an outdated Biblical stance, not a modern world that preaches tolerance for choice.
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Reply Fri 13 Feb, 2004 08:24 pm
Hmmmmm - interesting. We had one neanderthal state left a few years ago in this regard - Tasmania.

Here, if federal law and state laws clash, federal prevails. This, and a threat to appeal to the human rights commission, led to a reversal of the appalling state law.

Can't you threaten to cut along the dotted line and eject texas from the country?
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Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 11:09 am
Sometimes I am amazed at what is, for me, what appears to be a complete lack of understanding of how laws and the judiciary work in the United States.

First of all, it is a truism that Judges do not make laws.

The legislature( federal and state and local) make the laws.

Secondly, legislators are elected by constituents.
It would be fatal for legislatures not to adhere to strong principles held by their constituents.

That is precisely why the various legislatures will indeed pass laws like the defense of Marriage Act.

The People of the United States are strongly in favor of such legislation.

Now, is it unconstitutional??

It very well may be, however, the defense of Marriage Act and other such legislation must be, of course, reviewed by courts to determine whether or not such legislation is constitutional.

All other blather on this subject is totally foolish until such court review is completed, but it can safely be predicted that more states will pass a defense of marriage act this year and that the drum beat for a constitutional amendment will become louder.

Why? It's an election year.
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Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 11:41 am
bocdaver, welcome to Able2Know, glad to have you here.

In my opinion, any laws enacted to "preserve the sancticy of marriage" by prohibiting same sex marriage will be found unconstutional by the Supreme Court under the equal protection clause.

Amendment XIV to the Constitution:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
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Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 03:35 pm
Thank You Mr. Mrs. or Ms.Bumble Bee Boogie:

I am obliged to point out that legislation which defines marriage will probably not be ruled unconstitutional. One of the reasons is public opinion supports such a ruling. A second reason is that a definition of marriage will be supported to "stare decisis" or previous case law. Marriage has always, implicitly been regarded as the union of a man and woman. It will take some legal gymnastics I cannot perceive to cause the Justices to take another position.

I must point out that in Utah a man was jailed for bigamy and marrying someone who was ruled to be consanguinous to the extent that incest was declared.

I am sure that there are many who decry such a governmental intrusion into private sex lives. After all, incest must have started with Adam and Eve's offspring, if you choose to believe in such a scenario.

There is also, according to the followers of the greatest playwright of our day- Edward Albee- a ridiculous set of governmental prohibitions against what is erronously( I believe) called "bestiality". Anyone who viewed the prize winning play-"Who is Sylvia" who had the slightest bit of compassion and sympathy could easily emphatize with the man in that play who was ruthlessly deprived of his love( Slyvia- the goat) by a murderous insensitive wife.

I fear that our populace, yes, even our learned judges, will continue to support the idea that Marriage is between a man and a woman. I am sure that they will never allow the experiments with polygamy and incest to continue and would, I am very much afraid, laugh Sylvia's lover out of the courtroom.

How sad!!!
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Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 05:29 pm
Quote: "Can't you threaten to cut along the dotted line and eject Texas from the country?"

Please eject California also! I know, an unfunny joke to some, but hopefully a few of us can find the humor in this. As a resident of Kentucky (another state of embarrassment), I have always found my state of birth a complete embarrassment to the country. Can't we make them like a PurtoRico or something? California is way too weird for me! Yes, I was born there, SanDiego, to be exact, so I don't feel like a hypocrite or a hater of anyone, just an observer. I am making a joke, just in case no one notices. People are funny to the point of laughter at times.

I find myself laughing at people, even my own father and place of my birth. Who is willing to monitor anyone's bedroom practice? I'm not. Is society willing to ban something the Bible doesn't explain, except as a sin? If all were made in the image of God, tell me about a murderer or a homosexual.

Just maybe same sex partners should have the same legal rights as heterosexual people. This is the right to choose a life partner. There is separation of church and state, last I checked. I see religion as a huge problem with same sex marriage, which should not be relevant under American belief.

Why did the law state that we cannot have multi marriage? Take a look at the Mormon religion and the wishes of Bible thumping Christians who tried to demolish the Mormon practice. During this same time, it was illegal to hire Chinese immigrants who were imported to construct the railroad, from legal employment. Our laws often have faulty basis as with the Mormon religious practice, which is promised under our Constitution to race segregation of the Chinese to the black decedents of slavery.

Out modern law, what does make sense? You just have to go back to the reason why this law was made in the first place. Law changes every day, but ethics don't. Think about it.

So many of our laws have exception of ethics from those who had power and social popularity at the time. It is well known all laws of oppression of the black race, which are corrected today, but were so wrong in origin, just as western law that Christians did not agree with Mormon practice of religion and wish to rid themselves of Chinese railroad workers as disposable. So were black slave decedents that have no history of ancestors, which white people do.

If you really look into the history of our law, you may be shocked.
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Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 08:14 pm
Wildflower 63- You are correct. There is really nothing wrong with polygamy. It is practiced in many places in the world. Despite the now descredited Freudain bubaboo against Incest, common sense tells us that there must have been a great deal of inter-familial sexuality in the beginning of homo sapiens. Bestiality? Why, no good shepard would be without one. Man-Boy love?
Many boys were married as young as thirteen during the Middle Ages.

Our hangups about sex are myriad.

We should let people assert their sexuality in their own way.
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Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 08:27 pm
The stories I've seen about polygamy, mainly centred around US mormons, was a situation where dirty old men were swapping thier daughters with other dirty old men. Basically, they weren't allowed to [email protected] thier own daughters, so they [email protected] someone elses.
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Reply Sat 21 Feb, 2004 09:51 am

My sister came out of the closet about 4 years ago, I had a real hard time dealing with it... In school we used to kick girls as*es for even acting like they were, then she is....... How did i deal with it,,, I didnt talk to her for 5 months, then I realised she was happy and maybe even the first time in her life. So I had to let her know, She had the right to be happy, even if i don't approve of how she got happiness. I except my sister for who she is, and she may do what ever she wants behind locked doors , But the whole married thing, now that is another story... I don't think it is right to have a legal marriage ( not saying they cant have a wedding and make a promise to one another) I got married to my husband and made my sister wear a dress for the first time in her life, I would wear a tux at her ceremony too. I just don't think it should be legal,Because God made Adam and Eve........... Not Adam and Adam or Eve and Eve....... And with saying that I don't think she is going to heaven either..( Just my point of view) I really hope i didn't affend anyone, this is my story and my opinion on same sex relationships/marriage Exclamation
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Reply Sat 21 Feb, 2004 10:37 am
euchrelover, welcome to Able2Know, glad to have you here.

I was curious about your screen name so I search for information about it. It is a game I'm not familiar with. What part of the world do you live in that you are an Euchre game lover?


A2K is a site where people can be exposed to different ideas about life on this planet and broaden their understanding of the diversity around us.

With that in mind, think about this: If, while in your mother's womb at crucial times, your hormones suffered a little whopsie daisy shuffling, which caused you to be born homosexual instead of heterosexual, how would you want to be treated as your matured?

If you had to walk in your sister's shoes, would you feel the same way, especially about your belief that you wouldn't go to heaven?

If this were you instead of your sister, how would you feel?

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Reply Sat 21 Feb, 2004 05:49 pm
I'm an agostic who has been married twice.

The first wedding was Unitarian, an attempt to placate my first mother-in-law, a rabid Irish Catholic. The marriage ended in divorce because my formerly Catholic husband turned out to be an amoral bully.

My second wedding was to be a strictly civil ceremony. Unfortunately the District Magistrate took it upon himself not only to toss in the Lord's Prayer--a beautiful piece of prose with no sacred meaning for me--but to ask me "to love, to honor and to obey" when he'd been asked to eliminate the objectionable 0-word. Mr. Noddy, prompted by both his mother and my mother, allowed as how "obey" was not a practical request and he preferred that I act for his best interests instead.

The point is that I can have both religious and secular "blessings" when I would prefer a matter-of-fact filing of a form. I'd gladly dispense with the civil ceremony if those few binding words didn't simplify a world of official formalities.

Why should I have more rights than a gay person? This is not equality under the law.
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