of Americans Favor Overturning Texas Sodomy Law
May 6, 2003
By Paul Johnson, Washington Bureau Chief
Washington, D.C.—A new poll shows
the majority of Americans believe the government does not belong in the
bedrooms of gays and lesbians.
Seventy-four percent of American adults said the U.S.
Supreme Court should overturn state laws that criminalize private, consenting
sexual relations between same-sex couples.
The survey, released today, was conducted by Harris
Interactive for Witeck-Combs Communications
The Harris poll also reveals that nearly nine out of 10
Americans (87%) oppose state laws regulating private, sexual relations that
are applied to opposite-sex married adult couples and almost as many (82%)
oppose such laws that are applied to same-sex adult couples in a domestic
“Even when we exclude respondents who self-identify as
lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, support for overturning state sodomy
laws does not change significantly,” said Darin Johnson, vice president at
“It is clear that an overwhelming majority of Americans
believe the Supreme Court should overturn all state laws that interfere with
private sexual relations between consenting adults, whether same-sex or
The nationwide survey questioned more than 2,000 adults,
of whom approximately seven percent self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual
or transgender (GLBT). The survey was conducted online between April 17 and
23, 2003 by Harris Interactive but prior to the prominent media attention
given to Senator Rick Santorum’s (R-PA) interview last month with the
Associated Press in which he compared homosexuality with incest, polygamy and
“These numbers tell the same story we’ve been telling
courts in this country for years: the vast majority of Americans support the
right to privacy of all people, including gays and lesbians, and oppose
anti-gay discrimination,” said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda
Legal Defense and Education Fund, the national gay rights organization
bringing the Supreme Court challenge to consensual sex laws.
The survey also found that “75% of self-described
Republicans oppose state laws that regulate sexual relations that occur in the
private home of an adult same-sex couple in a domestic partnership (as do 88%
of self-labeled Democrats). In addition, seven out of 10 Americans (70%) who
characterize their personal ideology as “conservative” also oppose such
On March 26, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral
arguments testing the Texas same-sex sodomy statute. This case, Lawrence v.
Texas, will examine the constitutionality of Texas law (and other similar
state laws) that imposes criminal charges on same-sex couples who have
consenting sexual relations in the privacy of their home.
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