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    This page contains Supreme Court rulings -- with summaries of the majority and minority conclusions.

03-LAWR-TX on Mar 26, 2003

Decided Jun 26, 2003
Case Ruling: Lawrence v. Texas
In a landmark 6-3 ruling, the Court struck down a sodomy law in Texas and, by proxy, invalidated sodomy laws in the 13 other states where they remained in existence, thereby making same-sex sexual activity legal in every state. The court had previously addressed the same issue in 1986 in Bowers v. Hardwick, where it upheld a challenged Georgia statute, not finding a constitutional protection of sexual privacy.

HELD: Delivered by Kennedy, joined by Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer; O'Connor concurring

In reversing a Texas court ruling, the Court overruled its previous decision in Bowers v. Hardwick, holding that a Texas statute prohibiting certain sexual acts--namely those between same-sex partners--violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court voted 63 to strike down the Texas law, and Sandra Day O'Connor found that it violated equal protection guarantees.

DISSENT #1: By Scalia, joined by Rehnquist, Thomas

Scalia objected to the Court's decision to revisit Bowers, pointing out that there were many subsequent decisions from lower courts based on Bowers that, with its overturning, might now be open to doubt. Scalia also criticized the writers of the opinion for their unwillingness to give the same respect to the decision of stare decisis that some of them applied in Casey. Scalia also averred that state laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers's validation of laws based on moral choices.

DISSENT #2: By Thomas

The law which the Court struck down was "uncommonly silly", but he voted to uphold it as he could find "no general right of privacy" or relevant liberty in the Constitution. He added that if he were a member of the Texas Legislature he would vote to repeal the law.


    Participating counts on VoteMatch question 3. Question 3: Comfortable with same-sex marriage Scores: -2=Strongly oppose; -1=Oppose; 0=neutral; 1=Support; 2=Strongly support.
  • Topic: Civil Rights
  • Headline: Disallow all sodomy laws against same-sex activity (Score: 1)
  • Headline 2: Legal sodomy leads to legal incest, adultery, & bestiality (Score: -2)
  • Headline 3: Sodomy laws are uncommonly silly but states can enforce them (Score: -1)

    Participating counts on AmericansElect question 7.
  • Headline: Disallow all sodomy laws against same-sex activity (Answer: B)
  • Headline 2: Legal sodomy leads to legal incest, adultery, & bestiality (Answer: A)
  • Headline 3: Sodomy laws are uncommonly silly but states can enforce them (Answer: A)
  • AmericansElect Quiz Question 7 on Social Issues: When you think about the rights of same-sex couples, which of the following is closest to your personal opinion?
    • A: Same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry or form any kind of civil union
    • B: Same-sex couples should be allowed to form civil unions, but not to marry in the traditional sense
    • C: Same-sex couples should be allowed to marry legally, with all the same rights as traditional marriages
    • D: Unsure


  • Key for participation codes:
  • Sponsorships: p=sponsored; o=co-sponsored; s=signed
  • Memberships: c=chair; m=member; e=endorsed; f=profiled; s=scored
  • Resolutions: i=introduced; w=wrote; a=adopted
  • Cases: w=wrote; j=joined; d=dissented; c=concurred
  • Surveys: '+' supports; '-' opposes.



Democrats participating in 03-LAWR-TX

Stephen Breyer j1US Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg j1US Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 



Republicans participating in 03-LAWR-TX

Anthony Kennedy w1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
Sandra Day O`Connor w1cUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2005) 
William Rehnquist j2dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (until 2005) 
Antonin Scalia w2dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
David Souter j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2009) 
John Paul Stevens j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2010) 
Clarence Thomas w3dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 



Independents participating in 03-LAWR-TX



Total recorded by OnTheIssues:

Democrats: 2
Republicans: 7
Independents: 0


















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