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Old 06-26-2003, 12:09 PM   #1
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Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Sodomy Law

'bout time those old fuckers did something right!

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court struck down a Texas ban on gay sex Thursday, ruling that the law was an unconstitutional violation of privacy.

The justices voted 6-3 in striking down the Texas law, saying it violated due process guarantees.

"The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court's majority. "The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime."

Gay rights advocates immediately hailed the decision, while religious conservatives condemned it.

"It's an historic day for gay Americans," said Ruth Harlow of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a gay-rights group representing the two Texas men. "I think Americans will be celebratory about this decision."

The ruling reverses a 1986 high court ruling upholding state anti-sodomy laws. Kennedy wrote that homosexuals have "the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government."

The case stemmed from the 1998 arrest of a gay Houston couple under a 28-year-old Texas law making it a crime to engage in same-sex intercourse. A Texas state appeals court found the law "advances a legitimate state interest, namely, preserving public morals."

Gay rights advocates argued the law legitimized discrimination against homosexuals in everyday life.

"This is a very strong ruling that we all, as individuals -- whether gay or straight -- have the liberty to choose who we'll love and how we'll do that in the privacy of our own homes," Harlow said.

In 1986, the Supreme Court upheld the prosecution of two gay men under a Georgia anti-sodomy law in a 5-4 decision that focused on the right to privacy. In Thursday's ruling, Kennedy said that decision "was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today."

"The court is just catching up with American society, which has already recognized gay people's equal liberty, equal humanity," Harlow said. "And the court issued a very powerful decision itself recognizing that humanity."

But the ruling immediately drew fire from a spokesman for a religious conservative group, the National Clergy Council.

"The court has said today that morality -- matters of right and wrong behavior -- do not matter in the law," said the Rev. Rob Shenck, one of the group's founders. "That is an undermining of our concept of justice in this country."

The Texas case already has entered the national political debate, stirred by May comments from Sen. Rick Santorum, a member of the Senate's Republican leadership.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Santorum said if the justices overturned the Texas law, "then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery, you have the right to anything."

Santorum defended his remarks, but some fellow Republicans distanced themselves from them.

The majority opinion appears to cover similar laws in 12 other states and reverses a 1986 high court ruling upholding sodomy laws. Kennedy wrote that homosexuals have "the full right to engage in private conduct without government intervention."

Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer agreed with Kennedy in full. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor agreed with the outcome of the case but not all of Kennedy's rationale.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

"The court has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda," Scalia wrote for the three, according to the AP. He took the unusual step of reading his dissent from the bench.

"The court has taken sides in the culture war," Scalia said, adding that he has "nothing against homosexuals."
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Old 06-26-2003, 12:16 PM   #2
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Pffft. About time.

Out of curiosity, has anyone ever been tried for breaking such a law? I'd hate to imagine how a trial would proceed regarding what any person chooses to do in the bedroom. If I were a gay person I'd jump back and forth from contempt to ludicrous fascination that a court would have any kind of vested interest in persuing that kind of charge.

When I mumble 'who cares' I really mean who cares. Does anyone care about what their neighbours are up to in their bedrooms right now?

I admit, its beyond me.

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Old 06-26-2003, 12:34 PM   #3
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Very glad to see this. It's a little unbelievable that such laws are still on the books in the US.
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Old 06-26-2003, 12:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem

When I mumble 'who cares' I really mean who cares. Does anyone care about what their neighbours are up to in their bedrooms right now?

I admit, its beyond me.
I don't want to know ANYTHING about what goes on next door.

*peers over*

*shuts blinds*

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Old 06-26-2003, 01:40 PM   #5
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yes there have been cases - one famous one in Houston (I think.)
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Old 06-26-2003, 02:13 PM   #6
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The article I read stated that a "neighbor with a grudge" called the police because a man was "going crazy" next door. Police busted in and found the couple having "illegal sex." They then spent the night in jail and were fined.

I'm glad this has been repealed. The sexual acts of two people who are of age should be private. To paraphrase one of the dissenting justices, the legal system has better things to worry about than this.
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Old 06-26-2003, 02:30 PM   #7
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Glad to hear they came to this decision.
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Old 06-26-2003, 02:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by HeartlandGirl
The article I read stated that a "neighbor with a grudge" called the police because a man was "going crazy" next door. Police busted in and found the couple having "illegal sex." They then spent the night in jail and were fined.

I'm glad this has been repealed. The sexual acts of two people who are of age should be private. To paraphrase one of the dissenting justices, the legal system has better things to worry about than this.
My neighbors have woken me up at 2am ‘going’ crazy.

I have called the police and they have come out and told the hetero couple to close the window and keep the noise inside.

If 'loud sex' is disturbing the peace, it should be cited on those grounds only.
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Old 06-26-2003, 02:51 PM   #9
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I hope all the gay couples I know celebrate this by going to Canada to get married...and go to Texas for the honeymoon! Yeehaw!



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Old 06-26-2003, 02:53 PM   #10
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Re: Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Sodomy Law

Quote:
Originally posted by ouizy
'bout time those old fuckers did something right!




Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

"The court has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda," Scalia wrote for the three, according to the AP. He took the unusual step of reading his dissent from the bench.

"The court has taken sides in the culture war," Scalia said, adding that he has "nothing against homosexuals."
Can a gay or lesbian person get a fair hearing before these Judges?
Are they fit to serve in 2003?
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Old 06-26-2003, 03:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep


My neighbors have woken me up at 2am ‘going’ crazy.

I have called the police and they have come out and told the hetero couple to close the window and keep the noise inside.

If 'loud sex' is disturbing the peace, it should be cited on those grounds only.
The impression I got from the article was that the neighbor was just looking for a reason to call the cops, whether or not the guys were being loud.

I remember complaining about my neighbors here once, and someone talked about how they were tired of listening to their neighbors having noisy sex, so he wrote a very detailed description of everything he could hear and taped it to their door. Problem solved!
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Old 06-26-2003, 03:06 PM   #12
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I know the police have to have "cause" before entering and the "going crazy" call was their reason.

I gave the example if the boys truly were "too loud".

If the "crazy couple" were straight the police would have just told them about the report and asked them to keep it down, a bit.
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Old 06-26-2003, 03:36 PM   #13
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There is nothing wrong with the neighbor calling, it was the grounds on which teh officers arrested the couple that is shameful.


As far as those three justices, all I can say is that Antonin Scalia is no friend of this country. I am ashamed to have people like this sitting on the bench in the highest court of my country.

Truly and utterly ashamed.
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Old 06-26-2003, 04:14 PM   #14
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The real shame is the fact this law existed in Texas for 28 years.
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Old 06-26-2003, 04:42 PM   #15
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And not just Texas.

* s from Oklahoma

Yeah, I saw your point, deep. I was just saying that the article I read suggested that the neighbor's call was unjustified. I agree with everyone that it is one thing to punish noisiness, and quite another to punish sexual behavior.
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