Gay Discrimination Essay

Submitted By MirandaMichele
Words: 2102
Pages: 9

Government Essay

Lawrence vs the State of Texas

The right to privacy, should be a give in, right? Wrong. Gay rights has been an ongoing struggle for decades. In this Supreme Court case Lawrence vs the State of Texas, John Geddes Lawrence and his partner Tyron Garner, wanted their right to engage in sexual activity. But engaging in sex landed them in jail after being caught together and charged for the so called, disgusting act.

The police that arrested them had no right to intrude on their inside home life, but as is, not a lot of other people seem to agree. Now, “in Houston, Texas, officers of the Harris County Police Department were dispatched to a private residence in response to a reported weapons disturbance. They entered an apartment where one of the petitioners, John Geddes Lawrence, resided. The right of the police to enter does not seem to have been questioned. The officers observed Lawrence and another man, Tyron Garner, engaging in a sexual act. The two petitioners were arrested, held in custody overnight, and charged and convicted before a Justice of the Peace. The complaints described their crime as "deviate sexual intercourse, namely anal sex, with a member of the same sex (man)." App. to Pet. for Cert. 127a, 139a. The applicable state law is Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 21.06(a) (2003). It provides: "A person commits an offense if he engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex." The statute defines "[d]deviate sexual intercourse" as follows:
"(A) any contact between any part of the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person; or
"(B) the penetration of the genitals or the anus of another person with an object." § 21.01(1).”
So in the Texas State Penal Code, Lawrence and Garner having intercourse is only a violation because it was same sex intercourse as opposed to different sex intercourse. Were in the state of Texas, it is illegal for gay people to be with each other. Under the "Homosexual Conduct" law—which criminalizes sexual intimacy by same-sex couples, but not identical behavior by different-sex couples—violate the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the laws.
“The petitioners exercised their right to a trial de novo in Harris County Criminal Court. They challenged the statute as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and of a like provision of the Texas Constitution. ex. Const., Art. 1, § 3a. Those contentions were rejected. The petitioners, having entered a plea of nolo contendere, were each fined $200 and assessed court costs of $141.25. App. to Pet. for Cert. 107a-110a.”
“The Court of Appeals for the Texas Fourteenth District considered the petitioners' federal constitutional arguments under both the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. After hearing the case en banc the court, in a divided opinion, rejected the constitutional arguments and affirmed the convictions.” So far, the court has refereed back to a previous case, Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U. S. 186 (1986) , and went over their overall decision of that case, to help build the foundation in Lawrence vs Texas due to the fact that in both these cases, there are very similar issues. The real question would be, if they are both adults, it was done in private, and it was consensual, why get in trouble for it? Gay people have every right to engage in sexual conduct as we do. And being protected under the 14th Amendment (giving them their right to privacy) but contradicting the Texas Penal Code, obviously this was a hard call to make.
“ Laws prohibiting sodomy do not seem to have been enforced against consenting adults acting in private. A substantial number of sodomy prosecutions and convictions for which there are surviving records were for predatory acts against those who could not or did not consent, as in the case of a minor or the victim of an assault. As to these, one purpose for the