Men Proud to Have Helped Defeat State’s Sodomy Law
Associated Press, April 26,
HOUSTON—Two men whose 1998
arrests led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down bans on sodomy,
say they are proud to have helped defeat an unjust law.
Speaking together for the first time since the case
began, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner told The Houston Chronicle for a Sunday
story that they are overwhelmed by the support they received and are glad the
case is over.
“I got a sense of justice for being wronged by the
state of Texas,” Lawrence said. “I feel I’ve been vindicated.”
The men were arrested after police—sent by a bogus
report of an armed intruder—burst into Lawrence’s apartment and found them
engaged in consensual sex. The pair was jailed overnight and charged with
breaking Texas’ Homosexual Conduct Law, which bans oral and anal sex between
people of the same gender.
In its landmark June ruling, the Supreme Court said that
what gay men and women do in the privacy of their bedrooms is their business
and not the government’s.
The 6-3 decision invalidated laws in Texas and 12 other
states. It also galvanized both sides in an ongoing national debate over
whether homosexuals are entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals when it
comes to marriage and adoption.
Lawrence, a 60-year-old medical technologist, said he has
no regrets for taking the case to Washington.
“When somebody is wronged and they don’t stand up for
themselves, they’re going to get wronged again. I wasn’t going to stand
for it,” he said.
Garner, 36, who sells barbecue from a street stand, said
it was hard to endure the loss of his privacy.
“I didn’t enjoy being outed with my mugshot on TV,”
he said. “It was degrading to me.”
But the result was worth it, he said.
“I don’t really want to be a hero,” Garner said.
“But I want to tell other gay people ‘Be who you are, and don’t be
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