Last edited: February 14, 2005

Obituaries In The News: Donald Baker

Associated Press, December 2, 2000

BOSTON — Donald F. Baker, a gay rights activist who effectively killed Texas’ 121-year-old law on sodomy, died Friday of cancer. He was 53.

In 1979, Baker challenged Texas’ 1879 law against sodomy, arguing it was unconstitutional and discriminatory. A federal judge agreed, but an appeals court upheld the law in 1985.

The sodomy law is still on the books but is rarely enforced. A similar law concerning men and women was repealed in 1974.

In 1982, The New York Native recognized him as one of America’s 10 most influential gay people.

Baker earned a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University and worked as director of training and development at Gerber Garment Technology. He transferred to Connecticut in 1989 and then to Boston.

He participated in Dallas area activist groups and received the Human Rights Campaign’s Outstanding Citizen Award in 1985.

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