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Texas sodomy law reversal...discuss(41 posts)

Texas sodomy law reversal...discussBikeViking
Jun 26, 2003 10:36 AM
Unlike my religious conservative brethren, I am happy to see that the "Supremes" overturned that law. They (Rush) bring up the argument of this ruling could pave the way for incest and child molestation, which is a bit of a reach for me. Incest has a profound genetic impact on a community and that's why its illegal. Having seen the Catholic priest /Police Explorer molestation mess, it couldn't possibly make child molestation any more of evil danger than it already is.

What goes on in the privacy of your own home with a consenting adult(s), is your own business.
re: agreewilki5
Jun 26, 2003 10:43 AM
I strongly agree with the decision to overturn the rule believing that privacy deserves to win over the govt. morality arguement. As noted the arguement for child molestation is ridiculous and nullified by the "two consenting adults" statement. It could stir up debate about incest as it is not actually of profound genetic impact. It merely has the potential to have genetic impact, may seem like semantics but it isn't. However, they are seperate issues/laws and should remain so with todays ruling being a big step forward in modernizing privacy laws.
Who doesn't agree with it...Dwayne Barry
Jun 26, 2003 11:01 AM
what kind of hateful freak do you have to be to think 2 consenting adult shouldn't be allowed to do whatever they want to one another.
Christian theology and the male anus.Alex-in-Evanston
Jun 26, 2003 11:17 AM
Is it nitpicking to point out that incest and child molestation can be achieved without sodomy? And if we're talking about a thinly veiled crusade against homosexuality, isn't an anti-cunnilingus law in order?

Seems logical to me.

Right to privacy v. equal protectionPdxMark
Jun 26, 2003 12:03 PM
An interesting thing is that the decision was based upon a right to privacy theory, rather than equal protection. The diference seems important. Equal protection would have fit, since heteros were welcome to perform sodomy in Texas, but gays were not. Under the right to privacy theory, laws in a few other states banning sodomy for heteros & gays could also fall. Under equal protection, states might have been able to justify a sodomy ban for everyone (just selectively enforce it against gays).

I like the privacy basis better than equal protection. Clarence points out that the words "right to privacy" do not appear in the Constitution. I think interpretation of the Constitution finds meaning for a host of Federal rights, not the least under the Commerce clause. A right to privacy is not out of line with any of those.
questionJS Haiku Shop
Jun 26, 2003 12:29 PM
was/is there a law (laws?) against heterosexual sodomy?

(no offense intended to any sodomists reading this post.)
Jun 26, 2003 12:46 PM
Copied directly from an AP article:

"Of the 13 states with sodomy laws, four — Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri — prohibit oral and anal sex between same-sex couples. The other nine ban consensual sodomy for everyone: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

Thursday's ruling apparently invalidates those laws as well."
Could such a thing exist?Kristin
Jun 26, 2003 12:48 PM
Sounds like an oxymoron to me.
nm. bonehead question. (nm)Kristin
Jun 26, 2003 12:49 PM
Could such a thing exist? I think K needs to get out more :) nmPdxMark
Jun 26, 2003 1:26 PM
Jun 26, 2003 12:52 PM
In the US military, sodomy, (@nal and or@al, hetero or homo) violates Article 125.

(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration , however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.

(b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct

What a hoot...don't make video's with the spouse or, in a divorce, he/she could hang you out to dry! Ha Ha

Just happen to have this handy map...Dale Brigham
Jun 26, 2003 1:01 PM

Here's the current topography of sodomy laws in the 'ol US of A:

As you can clearly see, from Tennessee, you (and missus J) would have to go down south (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) to Mississippi or Alabam' to potentially break any laws against (wo)man and/or nature.

In Missouri, my bride and I, being of the heterosexual persuasion, would get off scott-free for such deviant activity (whoo-hoo!), were we to theoretically engage in such practices. Our gay pals, on the other hand, could be prosecuted for same.

Louisiana is the real question mark here. I mean, what laws of nature aren't publically broken at Mardi Gras? I guess they can't realistically arrest everybody.

I should have read more closely. however,JS Haiku Shop
Jun 27, 2003 5:54 AM
these combined with the strong opposition to sexual education, condom distribution in public settings, and the fact that oral s-e-x is also considered in many of these laws, leads me to infer that they are/were penned to prohibit non-reproductive sex. it all seems like old-skool "morality" to me; smacks of catholicism/ultra-conservatisim at its finest. times, they are a-changin', and all for the better, IMHO.

no offense intended to anyone who may take offense to anything offense written here.

read closermohair_chair
Jun 27, 2003 6:13 AM
The states that still have sodomy laws on the books all seem be in the bible belt. I don't think that is a coincidence.

Turn off the lights, do the filthy deed, then quickly retire to separate bedrooms and pray for God's mercy. Sex is not supposed to be fun, dammit.
no offense taken JS Haiku , but...Fender
Jun 27, 2003 8:13 AM
why are you bashing Catholicisim when the South is primarily Protestant/Baptist?

Now FYI, I have seen efforts by the Catholic to move along with the times, such as a support group for Gay, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transexuals.
b/c i was raised cat'licJS Haiku Shop
Jun 27, 2003 10:18 AM
but yes, we have our fair share of baptists.

can't throw a rock without hitting a MB or CoC or CoGiC church 'round here.

not that i would throw anything at a church.

no offense intended to any rock throwers.
The Supreme Dodgejtolleson
Jun 26, 2003 1:56 PM
I like the outcome of course, and I was particularly tickled by the parts in the opinion where Justice Kennedy essentially takes the Bowers v. Hardwick decision for the disingenuous outcome-driven piece that it was by falsely claiming that prohibitions on homosexual sex had "ancient roots."

But the TEXAS statute unlike many others raised such obvious equal protection issues. While not hold, as the court did in invalidating Colorado's Amendment 2, that it was prohibited class-based discrimination? Obviously, that would have had more sweeping implications for gay rights.

But in failing to address the obvious equal protection violation, the court seemed to shirk its duties. If the prohibition on sodomy applied only to, for example, interracial couples, the court wouldn't have just said "government doesn't belong in the bedroom." The court would have said "this is invidious race discrimination."

Just a thought.
The Supreme DodgePdxMark
Jun 26, 2003 3:34 PM
I think the Court broadened the opinion. An equal protection opinion, on the gay/hetero equal protection issue, would have allowed a state to legislate sex for all couples (or moresomes, I suppose). No equal protection issue if it's illegal for everyone. The privacy basis seems to be directed to keeping states out of bedrooms generally.
Jun 26, 2003 3:55 PM
I would like to have seen both analyses. It is true that an equal protection analysis, standing alone, merely invites government into everyone's bedroom.
from the majority opinion:dr hoo
Jun 27, 2003 4:17 AM
The majority opinion made the limits of its decision crystal clear:

"The present case does not involve minors. It does not involve persons who might be injured or coerced or who are situated in relationships where consent might not easily be refused. It does not involve public conduct or prostitution. It does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual people seek to enter. The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle. The petitioners are entitled to respect in their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. "

Interesting (to me) was that while the decision was 6-3, O'Connor did NOT apply the reasoning of a "liberty interest", but rather fell on the "equal protection" side of the argument. Such a position would have overturned the 3 states the singled out homosexual acts, but left in place the 10 that applied to hetero and homo sex. While equal protection might sound like a broader reaching decision, the limitations to PRIVATE acts in PRIVATE places would mean very little in terms of employment or other issues.

FYI, a good summary of the legal issues, very readable by the lay person, is here:

dr (heh heh, he said "LAY"!) hoo
O'Connor's concurrencejtolleson
Jun 27, 2003 6:47 AM
Interestingly, I heard it described on the news as "narrower" than the majority holding. I suppose that it is in that she specifically declined to overrule Bowers v. Hardwick, and her equal protection analysis would have invalidated only those statutes which prohibit conduct for gay folk that is legal for straights.

I'd call it "broader" as well. The Equal Protection clause is a much more powerful weapon in the gay rights arsenal than the penumbral right to privacy. GLBT people want equality, not just privacy. And her reminder that laws discriminating against gays and lesbians do not pass even a "rational basis" level constitutional scrutiny. She said "moral disapproval" is not a rational basis for anti-gay lawmaking.

I think one of the reasons that Scalia devoted a large chunk of his dissent to picking apart the concurring opinion is his concern, as he articulated, that the case has implications for broader fights over glbt equality.
how should we celebrate? ;-)DougSloan
Jun 27, 2003 6:46 AM
Seems like a no-brainer decision, given the precedents establishing rights of privacy. The "right thing to do" in any event.

Any notion of "states' rights" is nearly gone. I guess that since the Civil War, essentially the Court has determined they are not worthy of making their own laws (right or wrong).

Praise Jesus. An issue both wings of this board seemOldEdScott
Jun 27, 2003 7:05 AM
to agree on.
I suppose it's because of the lack of significance.DougSloan
Jun 27, 2003 7:14 AM
I suppose it's because of lack of significance.DougSloan
Jun 27, 2003 7:15 AM
To you and to me maybe. Not to those affected.OldEdScott
Jun 27, 2003 7:17 AM
More likely it's because there are mostly economic right wngers here, not religious right wingers.
Jun 27, 2003 7:20 AM
see message below.

Even from a religious view, I can't see how laws like this can be justified. If anything, to me, the New Testament teaches love and tolerance, and that each is answerable to God individually.

Sure, but the nutty religious right tends to beOldEdScott
Jun 27, 2003 7:23 AM
Old Testament-based. And the Old Testament, you'll recall, put the 'Sodom' in 'sodomy.'
Jun 27, 2003 7:54 AM
I've been thinking about this very thing. You can search the gospels front and back and I would challenge anyone to find an example where Jesus encourages one person to review and judge another persons morality. We are only responsible for ourselves--and so far as I can tell, the only way to "be at peice with everyone, so much as it is within [my] power," is if I don't fret about their choices.

I suspect that if Jesus came here today, that the religious right would pretty quickly reject him. They have an agenda and I doubt the god they worship really exists. They are very much like the pharasee's of the gospels. The most forceful zealots are usually the farthest from the reality.
The fire-breathing president of Southern Baptist Seminary hereOldEdScott
Jun 27, 2003 8:04 AM
in Kentucky just raised a national firestorm (the Anti-Defamation League is all over him) by comparing Judaism to a 'tumor' in one of his speeches. (The Southern Baptists consider it their duty to convert Jews to, presumably, Southern Baptistism. Naturally, the Jews don't dig it.)
The plot twists are making me dizzy. nmKristin
Jun 27, 2003 8:16 AM
AmenJon Billheimer
Jun 27, 2003 3:45 PM
Kristin, I suspect you're right about Jesus' probable views. However, Paul was outspokenly homophobic which is where the anti-homosexual bias comes in in Christianity. If you read through the New Testament you'll find that what constitutes Christian doctrine is both syncretic and revisionist in many respects. Paul veered off on some of his own tangents with respect to social/moral issues such as homosexuality, capital punishment, etc.
To you and to me maybe. Not to those affected.jtolleson
Jun 27, 2003 7:37 AM
Exactly. Though sodomy laws were rarely enforced, they'd be invoked to justify other forms of discrimination (such as refusing child custody to a gay parent who was viewed as a perpetual lawbreaker).

Never underestimate what a huge and vicious slap the Bowers v. Hardwick decision was perceived to be by the gay and lesbian community.

This decision was SWEET.

Funny that I have not heard public outrage over the decision except from some usual sources on the fringe, yet Scalia's dissent accused the court (and the legal profession generally) of being out-of-touch with the American people. He wrote:

"SO imbued is the DCourt with the law profession's anti-anti-homosexual culture that it is seemingly unaware that the attitudes of that culture are not obviously 'mainstream' ..."
Court's "reality check"DougSloan
Jun 27, 2003 8:28 AM
The Court at times really does to a "reality check" of Consitutional issues. Roe was a classic one. Absolutetly no basis in the Constitution for the decision (arguably, I realize), but rendered a decision that somewhat preserved its credibility, which is everything to the Court, and solved a problem plaguing America, all in context of the reality of the times. They shouldn't do that very often, or stretch things very far each time, but they can get away with it and then.

Alas, I might concede that they are, at times, even wiser than I am ;-). I would tend to look at the words of the Constitution and interpret from them, which will no doubt cause much consternation for those who suffer modern problems but who lack the clout to amend the Constitution or change most states' laws. I would tend to interpert the 10th Amendment fairly strongly, not only due to the words of the Amendment itself, but in context of the entire federal system created at the time. It would be harsh, but I believe more legally sound. My jurisprudence tends to be more legalistic than pragmatic.

Now, I would be more than happy to support a number of Amendments, though, which I believe is the only proper method of changing the Constitution.

Jun 27, 2003 7:18 AM
Hit the enter button too soon.

I doubt these laws have deterred any conduct over the last 50 years. With little threat of prosecution, it's sort of a big "so what," except in a symbolic sense. Easy to agree on such things.

I realize the symbolism is important to many people, and I certainly agree with the decision from a Libertarian view (I probably would have expanded it). Nonetheless, it was a no-brainer, in my view.

Doug, what Constitutional basis would you use for expansion? nmPdxMark
Jun 27, 2003 7:44 AM
privacy is a bigeeDougSloan
Jun 27, 2003 8:43 AM
Since privacy seems to be a part of the Constitution as much as free speech, you could do a lot with that. Why not smoking dope in your home, helmet laws, etc., things are primarly a personal issue, not a public one.

What I don't getKristin
Jun 27, 2003 7:42 AM
I don't understand how people become so clouded over the true issue. Of course, the news shows always seem to track down and quote the wacko's. But it amazes me that people are so upset that this was over turned, as if it was a moral travesty. Do they really want the government to "legislate" our morality? Because if the government can dictate what I can and can not do with my husband or anyone else inside my home, then it can also dictate other things I do in my home--such as pray or worship or teach my children about religion. It occurs to me that the very thing that the "religios right" is defending here, is something that can come back and bite them in the a$$ later.
Sanctity and PrivacyMe Dot Org
Jun 27, 2003 10:04 AM
The only two states outside the Bible belt that still have sodomy laws on the books are Utah and Idaho, both of which have significant LDS (Latter Day Saints) populations.

My stepmother is Mormon, and the Mormon Church was a big supporter of the Knight Initiative - the "Sanctity of Marriage" act which prohibits the state of California from acknowleding same sex marriage.

We were talking about the initiative, and she said the initiative was necessary to preserve the Sanctity of Marriage.

I replied that while two heterosexual agnostics,athiests or blood-splashed satan worshipers were entitled to marry in the state of California, two gay Unitarians were not. Clearly the "sanctity of marriage" has not been preserved with the Knight Initiative. Marriages are "sanctified" by a church or synagogue or temple or mosque or whatever the tenants of your personal belief, NOT by the state.

She looked at me and said "You know, I never thought of it that way before..."

One down...
incremental changesDougSloan
Jun 30, 2003 9:00 AM
Some things take time.

I have no doubt that same sex "civil unions" (that is, a "package of rights") will eventually be permitted everywhere. People will not be ready to call them "marriages" quite yet.

After a while, people will realize that civil unions and marriages are really the same thing, and we'll probably drop the distinction.

Won't affect me at all, but it makes the right people unhappySilverback
Jun 27, 2003 8:00 AM
Unlike some recent (and many upcoming) SCOTUS decisions, this one won't affect me at all. But I love it anyway, because it's a reversal from recent W. administration attempts to push government into our lives, and because everybody I've heard argue against it so far is somebody I love to see frustrated and thwarted. Jerry Falwell's already retired the Lifetime Idiot Award with his comments on it.