Police Sued for Violating Gay Teenager’s Right to Privacy

Marcus Wayman committed suicide in 1997 after police officers in Minersville, Pennsylvania threatened to tell his parents that he was gay. Yesterday, Wayman’s mother filed suit in federal court charging that the police officers violated her son’s right to privacy. She is seeking unspecified damages. In a 2-1 ruling, a federal appeals court determined in a pre-trial decision that the right of privacy does indeed apply to one’s sexual orientation. In its opinion, the court wrote, “It is difficult to imagine a more private matter than one’s sexuality and a less likely probability that the government would have a legitimate interest in [its] disclosure.” The Lesbian and Gay Rights project of the American Civil Liberties Union is representing Wayman’s mother in the lawsuit.

Police were arresting Marcus Wayman, 18, and a friend, 17, for underage drinking when they found that the boys had condoms. Police, referring to the Bible, then harassed the boys for being gay. The boys admitted to police that they were in fact gay, and one of the officers then threatened to disclose that information to the boys’ parents. Wayman committed suicide by gunshot only hours after the threat.

LEARN MORE Visit the Marcus Wayman Memorial Website


Salon.com, 11/06/01

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