Lawrence v. Texas

539 U.S. 558, 123 S. Ct. 2472 (2003)



The State cannot demean a homosexual person's existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government. It is a promise of the Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter.


Responding to a reported weapons disturbance in a private residence, Houston police entered petitioner Lawrence's apartment and saw him and another adult man, petitioner Garner, engaging in a private, consensual sexual act. Petitioners were arrested and convicted of violating a Texas statute forbidding two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct. In affirming, the State Court of Appeals held, inter alia, that the statute was not unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals remanded the case for further proceeding


Is the Texas statute making it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?




The Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.

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