Last edited: December 05, 2004

Republican Unity Coalition Files Supreme Court Brief Challenging Texas "Sodomy" Law

RUC, Joined by Former Senator Alan Simpson, Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Declare Texas’ "Homosexual Conduct" Law Unconstitutional

Republican Unity Coalition, January 17, 2003

Charles Francis, Co-chairman

Washington, DC—The Republican Unity Coalition today filed an amicus ("friend of the Court") brief in the United States Supreme Court arguing that the Texas "Homosexual Conduct" Law is unconstitutional. Retired Senator Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.) joined the RUC’s challenge to the Texas law.

The Supreme Court announced last December that it would hear Lawrence v. Texas, challenging the constitutionality of Texas’ "Homosexual Conduct" law, which criminalizes "sodomy" between consenting adult gay couples, even in the privacy of their own home. In Texas, the same sexual conduct is legal for heterosexuals. John Lawrence and Tyron Garner were arrested in Lawrence’s Houston home and jailed overnight after officers, responding to a false report from a neighbor, found the men engaged in private, consensual sex.

Charles Francis, co-chairman of the RUC said: "The RUC has filed this brief to make one simple point: we want gay Americans to be treated like all other Americans, subject to neither special preferences nor special disabilities. This case is not about the expansion of special rights or entitlements. Rather, it is about the unabashedly conservative commitment to our society’s fundamental value of equality before the law as enshrined in our Constitution."

The RUC brief argues that Lawrence and Garner’s convictions violated the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the laws. In this case, the RUC argues Texas’s asserted claim of preserving public morality is insufficient to deny one class of citizens, but not others similarly situated, a life of physical affection and intimacy.

The RUC was joined in its brief by the Honorable Alan K. Simpson, U.S. Senator (Ret.) Wyoming, who served 18 years in the United States Senate before retiring in 1997. Senator Simpson’s interest in the litigation is that he supports the principle of equality before the law, regardless of an individual’s sexual orientation.

The RUC brief was written by Erik Jaffe, a former law clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas, who is now an appellate attorney in Washington, D.C. ( Assisting Jaffe on the brief was Dale Carpenter, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Minnesota Law School.

The Republican Unity Coalition ( is a national organization of Republicans, both straight and gay, committed to making sexual orientation a "non-issue" within the Republican Party and throughout the nation.

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