TX Ruling Threatens Lesbian, Gay Rights

In a dangerous attack on the right to privacy, the 14th Court of Appeals voted 7-2 to uphold Texas’ sodomy law, which makes oral or anal sex between same-sex partners – but not opposite-sex partners – a crime. The ruling overturned an earlier vote by a three-member panel of the same body that declared Texas’ sodomy law was unconstitutional because it did not punish heterosexuals for performing the same acts specified in the statute. The Texas law formerly covered oral and anal sex between any partners, but was decriminalized for heterosexuals in 1974. The ruling began in September 1998 when sheriff department officers entered a private home on a false report of an armed intruder and found two men having sex; they arrested the men and charged them with engaging in homosexual conduct. The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund represented the men, and plans to appeal the case further. Similar same-sex only sodomy laws exist in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas, and a Montana law was recently overturned. No such case has reached the Supreme Court in recent years, again highlighting the importance of possible Supreme Court nominations expected this summer.


Nando Times Ð March 15, 2001 and Associated Press Ð March 16, 2001 and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

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