Last edited: February 06, 2005

High Court Engages in Sodomy Debate

Iowa State Daily, December 10, 2002
108 Hamilton Hall, Ames, IA 50011

By Editorial Board, Iowa State Daily

In a nation under siege by terrorists and riddled with severe crime, it is a wonder how any task force could possibly find time to police minor offenses. But in some states there seems to be one other area authorities are expected to regulateóthe bedroom.

Currently, 13 states declare sodomy to be a punishable crime. These laws can refer to both heterosexual and homosexual couples, although enforcement is largely biased towards the latter. However, last week the Supreme Court announced it will review, for the first time, a law that is directed solely at homosexuals, but the second relating to anti-sodomy laws.

The last case, Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), left Georgiaís anti-sodomy laws constitutional in a 5-4 decision. In the case, the plaintiff and his partner were caught engaging in homosexual sex in their own bedroom. Police came into the house searching for drugs, but charged the plaintiff with violating the anti-sodomy laws, which were designed for straight couples as well, but never enforced as such.

The high courtís decision in 1986 was that homosexuals have no fundamental right to privacy because Americans traditionally find such activity to be morally wrong. Although the Bowers ruling appeared to be about privacy, it was merely a smoke screen for continuing discrimination against same-sex couples.

Unfortunately the current case in front of the Supreme Court, Lawrence v. Texas, takes this discrimination even farther by singling out gay couples in the text of the statute. John Lawrence and Tyron Garner were arrested in 1998 for engaging in sodomy in their own apartment under a Texas law that criminalizes "deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex," according to

By the text of our beloved Constitution, this is absolutely wrong. The 14th Amendment declares that "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."

Homosexuals are citizens of this country, whether or not their lifestyle is agreed with. This Texas law discriminates against them, and takes away not only their right to privacy but also their right to be left alone. Sexual acts between two consenting adults are not the business of law enforcement agencies, governments or anyone else.

We do not need bedroom police. There are far more important things for officers to be doing than spying on homosexual male couples. In a country where murder, rape and kidnapping seem frighteningly common, gay couples seem like the least of our worries.

Hopefully, when Supreme Court justices hear arguments from both sides during this case they will remember that they are setting precedent for years to come, dangerous precedent if they choose to allow such flagrant bigotry.

  • Editorial Board: Cavan Reagan, Amber Billings, Ayrel Clark, Charlie Weaver, Rachel Faber Machacha.

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