Tags: Reactions | Vary | Texas | Sodomy | Ruling

Reactions Vary to Texas Sodomy Ruling

Thursday, 26 June 2003 12:00 AM

Harris County District Attorney Charles Rosenthal Jr., who argued the case for Texas before the Supreme Court, said the decision was an abrupt change from precedent.

"It is my opinion that this decision represents a paradigm shift from the court's previous decisions in holding that homosexual acts are protected liberty interests and that the Texas Legislature has no rational basis to forbid those acts," Rosenthal said in a statement.

"I am disappointed that the Supreme Court justices who voted in favor of the reversal did not allow the people of the state of Texas, through their elected representatives, to determine moral standards of governance for this state," he said.

The Texas law had been challenged by two gay men who were arrested, convicted and fined after sheriff's deputies broke into their home on a false weapons report and discovered them having sex.

The Houston Chronicle quoted what it said was the "openly gay" attorney for the two men, Mitchell Katine: "I feel like this is a day of independence."

A.P. Carlton, president of the American Bar Association, issued a statement saying, "Today's decision has struck a blow against discrimination and upheld the liberty of all Americans to be free from government intrusion in their most intimate relationships ... the court has affirmed the dignity and equality of every person under the law."

A gay GOP group, the Log Cabin Republicans, was just as enthusiastic.

Patrick Guerriero, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans and president of the Liberty Education Forum said, "Today's historic victory marks a new chapter for gay and lesbian civil rights in America. We are one step closer to realizing fairness and equality for gay and lesbian members of the American family. Log Cabin and the Liberty Education Forum were proud to offer a Republican and centrist argument in favor of the overturning of these un-American laws" in their friend-of-the-court brief supporting the Texas challengers.

Conversely, Tom Minnery, vice president of public policy for the conservative Washington-based group Focus on the Family, said that with its decision the Supreme Court continues "pillaging its way through the moral norms of our country. If the people have no right to regulate sexuality then ultimately the institution of marriage is in peril, and with it, the welfare of the coming generations of children."

"While it may feel good to some that a stigma is lifted from a particular group," Minnery said in a statement, "something else has been lifted -- the boundaries that prevent sexual chaos in our culture. In recent years we have seen a sharp rise in unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and heartbreak of every kind. By unlocking one of society's last social seatbelts, the court has guaranteed only one thing -- more fatal collisions lie just down the road."

However, the Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, which supplied the lead counsel for the two Texas challengers, issued a jubilant statement Thursday.

"Today the U.S. Supreme Court closed the door on an era of intolerance and ushered in a new era of respect and equal treatment for gay Americans," said Ruth Harlow, the fund's legal director and lead counsel in the case before the Supreme Court. "This historic civil rights victory recognizes that love, sexuality and family play the same role in gay people's lives as they do for everyone else."

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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Harris County District Attorney Charles Rosenthal Jr., who argued the case for Texas before the Supreme Court, said the decision was an abrupt change from precedent. "It is my opinion that this decision represents a paradigm shift from the court's previous decisions in...
Reactions,Vary,Texas,Sodomy,Ruling
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2003-00-26
Thursday, 26 June 2003 12:00 AM
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