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September 15, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 37
 
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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

 

 



 
Plaintiff in historic U. S. Supreme Court case outlawing sodomy laws passes away
Plaintiff in historic U. S. Supreme Court case outlawing sodomy laws passes away
'Because Tyrone Garner...had the courage to challenge homophobic sodomy laws...love, sexuality and family play the same role in Gay people's lives as they do for everyone else.'

Lambda Legal's Executive Director, Kevin Cathcart, issued the following statement concerning the death of Tyrone Garner, one of the two plaintiffs in Lambda Legal's landmark U. S. Supreme Court victory, Lawrence and Garner v. Texas:

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to Tyrone's family and friends and we join them in mourning his passing.

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. That's a colossal legacy and one for which his community will forever be thankful."

On June 26, 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 3 with Justice O'Connor concurring with the majority that Texas's "Homosexual Conduct" law was unconstitutional. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. The ruling effectively struck down the sodomy laws in every state that still had them-13 in all. Sodomy laws criminalized oral and anal sex by consenting Gay couples and in some states heterosexual couples. They were used almost exclusively to justify widespread discrimination against Lesbians and Gay men.

Lambda Legal represented John Lawrence and Tyrone Garner, who were arrested in Lawrence's Houston home and jailed overnight after officers responding to a false police report found the men engaged in private, consensual sex. Once convicted, they were forced to pay fines and were considered sex offenders in several states before their landmark victory before the Unites States Supreme Court.

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of Lesbians, Gay men, Bisexuals, Transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

A Lambda Legal press release

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