Victory: U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas's Sodomy Law!|
2003-06-28, 12:20 p.m.
The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday struck down Texas's ban on consensual gay sex, ruling that the law was an unconstitutional violation of privacy.
The Court's 6-3 decision reverses a ruling made 17 years ago that states could punish homosexuals for so-called "deviant sex." That 1986 ruling has been repeatedly invoked to support arguments that gay people should not be protected from discrimination -- making the Court's reversal of that decision a major milestone in the fight for constitutional rights.
"This decision will affect virtually every important legal and social question involving lesbians and gay men," said James Esseks, Litigation Director of the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, which filed a friend-of-the-court-brief cited twice in the Court's ruling.
"For years, whenever we have sought equality, we've been answered both in courts of law and in the court of public opinion with the claim that we are not entitled to equality because our love makes us criminals," Esseks said. "That argument -- which has been a serious block to progress -- is now a dead letter."
The Court's decision not only overturns Texas's sodomy law, it also invalidates sodomy laws in the other 12 states that still have these relics on the books.
The Court's decision to strike these laws was more than a landmark legal ruling -- it was also a powerful political statement. To capitalize on the momentum generated by the Court's decision, the ACLU has launched a special new web site to help people change the way America treats lesbians and gay men.
This web site provides tools to:
Get better treatment for same-sex relationships.
Make schools safe for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students and staff.
Fight discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodations.
No one who cares about equality and dignity should let the opportunity this Supreme Court decision has given us pass without doing something to bring us a step closer to equality. So go to the tools. Take the easy steps, and check out the rest.
Equality is up to us.
"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation." - Martin Luther King, Jr.