Democrats & Liberals Archives

Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Anti-Sodomy law

In a 6-3 decision, announced today, the US Supreme Court struck down state bans on gay sex, ruling that the Texas law was an unconstitutional violation of privacy. This ruling overturns the standing Bowers v. Hardwick decision from 1986. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion:

The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime….

Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer agreed with Kennedy in full. Justice O'Connor concurred with the judgement, though not with all of Kennedy's rationale. Justices Scalia, Rehnquist and Thomas dissented, with Scalia authoring the dissent.

A good day for civil liberties. This ruling makes it clear, the state has no business interfering in the private affairs of consenting adults. It will be interesting to see what President Bush will have to say regarding this decision. The conservative position on privacy has always been a puzzling one to me. If small government is a goal, why spend time, effort, and money policing the bedrooms of the nation?

For more analysis:
Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin's take.
The majority opinion (PDF).
Scalia's dissent (PDF).

Posted by crutan at June 26, 2003 1:11 PM