In 20th Century America there were still many laws and statues that made sexual acts which could not procreate illegal and the penalties for such acts could lead to a life sentence in prison, also known as sodomy laws. The discrimination of homosexuals by governmental agencies dates back to the 1930s and would last for many more years to come. During this time federal employment for homosexuals was banned by the government and private contractors which worked for the government were forced into terminating anyone who had sexual relations with people of the same sex. States also created legislations that prohibited gays from being served in bars and other public establishments. One of many challenges to these sodomy laws (which pertained to homosexuality) came from a case in Georgia, Bowers v. Hardwick 478 U.S. 186 (1986). Michael Hardwick and his partner (a male) at the time were arrested for engaging in consensual sex acts that were considered to be sodomy whether gay or straight. Hardwick would later sue the district attorney stating that the state was infringing upon his Constitutional right to privacy. The Supreme Court however would feel differently as they would later rule against Hardwick stating that the Constitution does not give “homosexuals the fundamental right to engage in sodomy” . This decision would be the first decision to actually uphold sodomy laws across the board. In 1992 Colorado would pass an Amendment to their State Constitution known as Amendment 2 which would prohibit the protection of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals by all three branches of their government . The Amendment would make all homosexuals and bisexuals an unprotected class of people in the state. In Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996) the Supreme Court would rule that Colorado’s Amendment 2 was unconstitutional as it did not pass the rational basis test . In 2000 the Supreme Court would take three steps backward and rule once again against homosexuals when they allowed the Boy Scouts of America to ban homosexual boys from becoming Boy Scouts or Boy Scout leaders (Boy Scouts of America v. Dale 530 U. S. 640 (2000)) .
The decision of the court would later make it easier for a court to overrule the decision of the Hardwick case but unfortunately it would not effect the ruling in the Dale case; Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003). Similar to the Hardwick case Lawrence and his male partner were also arrested and charged with violating Texas Penal Code § 21.06 "Homosexual Conduct:" which says (a) A person commits an offense if he engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex. (b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor ." Lawrence would plea no contest to the charges and was fined for his actions. On certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court the decision in Bowers v. Hardwick would be overruled making sodomy laws unconstitutional forcing other states to repeal their sodomy laws. This decision would not only affect state law but it would also carryover to the Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 125, which is a rarity. The Military has its own laws for their members and members of the Military are also not fully protected by the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court’s decision in 2003 did however open the doors to gay rights movements and push for fair treatment for all gay and lesbian people. For hundreds of years gays have lived secret lives in fear of what society would think and how they would be treated. It took to the beginning of the 21st Century before gays truly began to go hard and speak up for their rights as people and citizens of this county.
Gay marriage now the topic of almost every news reporter throughout the country has been the biggest debate yet following the Supreme Courts ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003). The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 1986 established the Lesbian, Gay,