I. Lawrence and Gardner v. Texas
CITATION: The OYEZ Project, Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003)
Houston police were dispatched to Lawrence’s (D) apartment in response to a reported weapons disturbance. The officers found Lawrence and Garner (D) engaged in a sexual act. Lawrence and Garner were charged and convicted under Texas law of “deviate sexual intercourse, namely anal sex, with a member of the same sex (man).” Lawrence and Garner challenged the statute as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Lawrence and Garner were each fined $200 and order to pay $141.25 in costs. The Court of Appeals considered Ds’ federal ...view middle of the document...
"The Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual," continued Justice Kennedy. Accordingly, the Court overruled Bowers. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, with whom Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Thomas joined, filed dissents
HOLDING AND RULE: (by Justice Kennedy)
Yes. A statute making it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct violates the Due Process Clause. Liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions. Freedom extends beyond spatial bounds. Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct. Ds are adults and their conduct was in private and consensual. The right to privacy is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.Roe v. Wade recognized the right of a woman to make certain fundamental decisions affecting her destiny and confirmed that the protection of liberty under the Due Process Clause has a substantive dimension of fundamental significance in defining the rights of the person. It is clear that in Bowers v. Hardwick this Court failed to appreciate the extent of the liberty at stake. To declare the issue as one related to the right to engage in certain sexual conduct demeans the claim the individual put forward, just as it would demean a married couple were it to be said marriage is simply about the right to have sexual...