Texas Court Strikes Down Anti-Gay Sodomy Law Supported by Gov. Bush
National Stonewall Democratic
733 15th Street, NW Suite 700A
Washington, DC 20005
For Immediate Release
June 8, 2000
WashingtonToday, the National Stonewall Democratic Federation, the
national organization of gay and lesbian Democrats, applauded the ruling of the Texas
Fourteenth Court of Appeals that struck down the states anti-gay sodomy law that was
strongly supported by Gov. George W. Bush.
In 1998, the Houston police arrested two men for having sex in the privacy of their own
home. They were held in jail for over 24 hours before being released on bond. Lambda Legal
Defense and Education Fund represented the two men in a county criminal court, which
refused to dismiss the charges on constitutional ground and found the men guilty as
charged. Lambda appealed the case to the 14th Court of Appeals.
Justices on the Courts of Appeals in Texas are elected by voters in the state, and the
three justice panel hearing this appeal ruled that the Texas sodomy law "violates the
Texas Equal Rights Amendments guarantee of equality under the law" by making
the same behavior criminal "for some but not for others, based solely on the sex of
the individuals who engage in the behavior."
The Texas sodomy law criminalizes private consensual sexual activity between same-sex
adult couples. Texas is one of a handful of states that singles out gay people by banning
adult sexual intimacy only between people of the same sex. Gov. George W. Bush has
publicly supported the sodomy law, calling it a "symbol of traditional values"
and said that he would veto any attempt to overturn the law legislatively. The state
Republican Party platform also explicitly opposes the decriminalization of sodomy, stating
that "the practice of sodomy tears at the fabric of society" and
"contributes to the breakdown of the family unit."
Daniel McGlinchey, political director of the National Stonewall Democrats, said,
"The fact that private sexual activity only between gay people was a crime in Texas,
while identical acts of intimacy between straight people was not, shows that supporters of
the law like George W. Bush were specifically using the power of the state to punish
people they dont like, and thats appalling. Were glad the Court of
Appeals ruled the law unconstitutional. But its alarming that the GOP has a
presumptive presidential nominee who would empower the government to punish private
intimate behavior between consenting gay adults that harms absolutely no one," said
Michael Milliken, treasurer of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and a National
Stonewall board member noted that when Gov. Bush was recently pressed on the question of
whether he would appoint any openly gay officials to his administration, he dodged the
question, claiming he wouldnt ask if someone is gay because "I think
someones sexual orientation is their private business."
"For Bush to advocate privacy and limited government in one moment," said
Milliken, "and in the next support government intrusion into the private consensual
sexual activity of gay people is absolutely indefensible."
National Stonewall expressed hope that the national Log Cabin Republicans would hold
George W. Bush accountable for such hypocrisy and withhold their support of him so that
voters would not be misled. Noting that Bush also recently allowed gay Republicans to be
denied an official presence at the Texas Republican state convention, McGlinchey said,
"Gov. Bush could have been a real moral leader on these issues, but instead hes
been the opposite. Its clear that he has no moral bearings on the issue of fairness
for gay and lesbian Americans."
National Stonewall stressed that Vice President Al Gore is once again far ahead of
Bush. A decade ago, in 1990, Gore voted in the Senate against an amendment offered by
Jesse Helms (R-NC) expressing the sense of the Senate that gay people "threaten the
survival of the American family" and that "state sodomy laws should be
"The fact that Gore moved to vote the Helms amendment down shows that he,
unlike Bush, understands that government exists to help people, not to do them harm,"
The National Stonewall Democratic Federation is the national organization of gay,
lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Democrats, with over 10,000 members and 50 affiliated
clubs across the country. NSDF is committed to improving the record of the Democratic
Party and educating voters about the vast difference that exists between the two major
parties on issues of importance to our communities.
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