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Courts Holds Bush Supported Law Unconstitutional

Dateline: June 10, 2000

George W. Bush, candidate for President of the [white christian male heterosexual persons living in the] United States may believe that the State of Texas should continue to enforce the state's sodomy law, but a Texas appeals court declared that law to be unconstitutional June 8, 2000.


Fast Fact
According to the June 1999 issue of The Advocate, Bush said he would veto any attempt by the Texas legislature to repeal an antiquated state law that criminalizes private homosexual activity, calling it "a symbolic gesture of traditional values."
Texas has had a sodomy law since 1860 which applied to sexual partners of all genders and orientations. In 1974 the state legislature revised the law removing the prohibition against sodomy between opposite sex partners, leaving the penalties for same sex partners.

However, the 14th Court of Appeals ruled that this revised law violates the equal rights amendment to the Texas Constitution which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in holding "The simple fact is, the same behavior is criminal for some but not for others, based solely on the sex of the individuals who engage in the behavior."

The dissenting justice said he did not believe the equal rights amendment was intended to decriminalize homosexual conduct going on to state his belief that homosexual conduct "represents a gross deviation from historic perceptions of morality."

The state's attorneys had argued that the sodomy law was intended to discourage "immoral conduct" and promote "family values."

The underlying case was a result of an arrest of two men, John Geddes Lawrence and Tyrone Garner, who were arrested when police entered Lawrence's home and found the men having sex. They were charged with "deviant homosexual conduct," a misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and spent the night of their arrest in jail.

The officers had been responding to a call from a third men that there was an armed intruder in the home. The caller turned out to be Garner's roommate and he was later sentenced to 30 days in jail for filing a false report.

At trial, Lawrence and Garner pleaded "no contest" in order to create an appealable finding of guilt.

It is not yet known whether the State of Texas will appeal although early indications are that they will. "I was very much surprised when the equal rights argument carried the day," said one of the prosecutors on the case, Bill Delmore "I think that it's a pretty significant decision because it expands what the equal rights amendment was about. That's if it stands."

It will also be interesting to see whether George W. chooses to make this an issue during this campaign season or what response, if any, the public will have to a candidate who was vocally supportive of a law now ruled to be unconstitutional.

In pride,
Deborah


 

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Drop a note to Deborah at gaylesissues@rslevinson.com

copyright 1986-2010 Deborah Levinson