Lawrence vs. Texas


1998 was an extremely emotional year for the GLBT community of Houston! The case before the United States Supreme Court was "Lawrence vs Texas". In Lawrence vs. Texas, two gay men say the state of Texas deprived them of privacy rights and equal protection under the law when they were arrested in 1998 for having sex in a Houston home.

A neighbor had reported a "weapons disturbance" at the home of John G. Lawrence, and when police arrived they only found two men having sex. Lawrence and another man, Tyron Garner, were held overnight in jail and later fined $200 each for violating the state’s Homosexual Conduct law. The neighbor was later convicted of filing a false police report.

Garner and John Lawrence challenged homophobic sodomy laws after they were arrested for having consensual sex in Lawrence's Houston home. The case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that Texas's "Homosexual Conduct" law, which criminalized gay sex, was unconstitutional.


"Because Tyrone Garner and John Lawrence had the courage to challenge homophobic sodomy laws, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that love, sexuality, and family play the same role in gay people's lives as they do for everyone else," said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of the legal advocacy group Lambda Legal, which argued Garner and Lawrence's case. "That's a colossal legacy and one for which his community will forever be thankful." (The Advocate)

All sodomy laws in the US are now unconstitutional and unenforceable when applied to non-commercial consenting adults in private.