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Lawrence v. Texas

In 2003, the Supreme Court reconsidered its position regarding the constitutionality of sodomy laws as they applied to homosexual acts. In Lawrence v. Texas, two men were arrested and charged with sodomy when police caught them engaging in consensual sexual activity in one of the men’s homes. The state courts upheld the conviction, relying on Bowers v. Hardwick. The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, determined that the sodomy law violated the Due Process Clause, thus overruling Bowers. According to the lead opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, “The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government.” Gay rights activists celebrated the decision as a major victory.

Inside Lawrence v. Texas