Last edited: December 05, 2004

Local Reactions to Court Ruling

KXAN-TV, June 26, 2003
Austin, Texas

Hours after five of nine Supreme Court justices overturned the Texas sodomy law, celebrations started right here in Austin.

There is a rally downtown scheduled for Thursday night. Organizers expect about 1,000 ralliers to show up for celebrations at Republic Park.

The gay community cheers as the end of an era and for a day they say the justices came out on their side

“Basically I was seen as a criminal because I was a gay man in the state of Texas,” Randall Ellis with the Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby said.

“If you haven’t been accused of being a criminal, that may be hard to understand,” Austinite Bettie Naylor said.

But now Austinites who understood the reality of the decades old Texas homosexual conduct law are celebrating a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

“No longer can law enforcement or the government come rushing into our bedrooms and rip us out for engaging in consensual sex with people of the same sex,” Ellis said. “Now that the Texas sodomy law is struck down, you can do it legally. Had it gone the other way it would be a phrase of defiance.”

“I think the case is important. There are at lease 17 other states that will be impacted by the Supreme Court decisions today,” Representative Jack Stick, R-Austin, said.

“I’m free. I’m free at last. But what I’m really excited about is how this will propel our movement forward,” Ellis said. “By removing criminality from my relationship, no longer can homophobia and discrimination be justified at the state level here.”

“I don’t see how the Supreme Court ruling today is going to make any impact on issues of foster parent or adoption or really any other law certainly that the Texas House would consider,” Stick said.

“We come together as a people now grateful,” Ellis said.

While Stick may not believe the decision will make much difference, some folks disagree and celebrate the moment it seemed five of nine high court justices learned what some of their loved ones already knew.

“I have grandchildren and they know it’s OK. They still like Granny,” Austinite Bettie Naylor said.

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