Protect Privacy of Bedroom
Kansas City Star,
December 9, 2002
1729 Grand Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64108
The U.S. Supreme Court should take the opportunity it has given itself to
remove some of the most constitutionally indefensible laws on the books in 13
states, including Missouri and Kansas.
These laws say, in effect, that what people do in their own bedrooms is the
government’s business. The laws in Missouri, Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma
criminalize "deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the
same sex." Laws in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North
and South Carolina, Utah and Virginia criminalize certain sexual practices for
Sexual behavior in private between consenting adults is none of the
government’s business. Nor does the government have an effective or
equitable way to enforce such laws.
So the Supreme Court should overturn its unfortunate 1986 decision in which
a 5-4 majority ruled that gay men and lesbian women have no constitutional
protection against discriminatory sexual legislation. One of the five justices
in the majority has since said he regrets his vote. The Georgia law in the
case has since been repealed.
Now the Supreme Court has agreed to review a Texas law being challenged by
two men arrested in Houston in 1998. Sheriff’s officers had been called to a
home to investigate a neighbor’s report of a "weapons
The report was phony and the person who submitted it was convicted of
filing a false report. But authorities sent to the house arrested two men
having sex. They were convicted but appealed, saying Texas law violates their
federal constitutional protections to equal protection and privacy.
Privacy is one of the central issues. Although gays and lesbians have an
obvious interest in this case, the case is ultimately about whether Americans
are free even in their own homes to do things that should be none of the
[Home] [Editorials] [Lawrence