Two Men Accused Of Violating Texas Sodomy Laws File New Appeals
Associated Press, December 22, 1998
By C. Bryson Hull
HOUSTON - A judge denied motions Tuesday to quash charges against two men convicted of
homosexual conduct, sending a challenge to the state's 119-year-old law prohibiting sodomy
to a state appeals court.
John Geddes Lawrence, 55, and Tyrone Garner, 31, were arrested Sept. 17 in Lawrence's
apartment and charged with engaging in homosexual conduct, a misdemeanor.
Both pleaded no contest last month, but appealed to the next court with a motion to
quash the charges. Judge Sherman A. Ross dismissed the motions at a hearing Tuesday.
Under an agreement reached with prosecutors, Lawrence and Garner again pleaded no
contest. The judge fined them $200 each and allowed the immediate filing of their new
The case may end up before the U.S. Supreme Court, because Garner and Lawrence's
challenges are based on state and federal constitutional questions involving privacy
"I believe in the Constitution of the United States and I believe in the rights of
all citizens," Lawrence said. "Would you like someone busting into your
Harris County deputies entered Lawrence's apartment and found the men engaged in
consensual sex. The deputies were responding to a false report that someone was going
crazy in the apartment and was armed with a gun, according to court documents.
Although on the books for more than a century, the Texas sodomy law is rarely enforced.
Gay activists have worked unsuccessfully for years to overturn the statute.
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