Court to Consider Sodomy Law
Focus on the Family,
December 3, 2002
By David Brody, Washington, D.C., correspondent
SUMMARY: The Supreme Court has decided to take a case that could resolve
whether or not states can punish homosexuals for having sex.
Sodomy is defined as "abnormal sex" and four years ago, Houston,
Texas, police officers arrested and jailed two men for engaging in it.
Homosexual rights groups say the Texas sodomy law violates the U.S.
Constitution’s equal protection guarantee, and argue that homosexuals are
being unfairly targeted.
Yet, Jordan Lorence, with the Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-family legal
foundation, said that argument doesn’t hold up.
"Whether a state should criminalize sodomy or not is a decision that
clearly the framers of the Constitution left for each state to decide for
itself," Lorence said.
In this case, police in 1998 came to a homosexual couple’s home in
response to a false report of "an armed man going crazy." Upon
entering the home, however, the officers discovered the two men engaging in
sex and subsequently arrested them. The two were convicted under the state’s
sodomy law and fined $200.
The sodomy law was challenged in the state court system, but the Texas
Court of Criminal Appeals ultimately ruled the law was constitutional.
Rebuffed, homosexual activist groups then took the case—Lawrence v. Texas—to
the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to convince the Court to strike down state
homosexual sodomy laws altogether. The groups argue what they do in private
shouldn’t be prosecuted; however, Ken Connor, president of the Family
Research Council, begs to differ.
"I would argue that when private acts have adverse public
consequences, society has a legitimate interest in protecting the public from
those consequences," Connor said.
He mentioned the AIDS crisis as a prime example of those public
The Supreme Court actually took up this issue back in 1986 when it upheld a
Georgia law banning homosexual sodomy. But clearly, it seems the high court
wants to re-engage in the debate.
Lorence said homosexual activists have a lot to lose if they come up on the
losing end of this case.
"They’re really ... betting the farm on this decision and if they
lose this decision it’s going to be disastrous for them," he said.
If the justices uphold sodomy laws again, it would be a clear sign from the
highest court in the land that homosexual behavior is out of step with
mainstream society. Yet, if homosexuals win the case, pro-family experts
believe they will use the victory to argue for the legalization of homosexual
marriage and gay adoption.
When the Supreme Court takes a case, they overturn the lower court decision
two-thirds of the time.
Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for March, and a decision is
expected sometime next summer.
Right now, 13 states have laws against sodomy, but most of them apply to
both heterosexual and homosexual sexual behavior. Only Kansas, Oklahoma,
Missouri and Texas specifically prohibit homosexual sex.
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