Gay Rights and the Constitution
“I'm a supporter of gay rights. And not a closet supporter either. From the time I was a kid, I have never been able to understand attacks upon the gay community. There are so many qualities that make up a human being... by the time I get through with all the things that I really admire about people, what they do with their private parts is probably so low on the list that it is irrelevant.” ~Paul Newman
Can the courts or the law tell the people in what way they can be intimate with their partners? Throughout the history of the United states there has been some constitutional controversy concerning which rights we possess that are protected under the constitution. Controversy has also surrounded who the constitution protects. At one time it was said that no person of African American race was or would ever be citizens of the united states. This was changed with the Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution. This fact leads me to believe that gay rights will continue to progress even though it has been a slow moving process. For decades there has been the issue of Gay rights and some of the courts controversial decisions have stemmed from cases regarding gay rights. A couple of these controversial cases have been of the cases the 1986 case of Bowers vs. Hardwick, and the 2003 case of Lawrence vs. Texas. All three of these case involve gay rights and virtually the rights of adult individuals to engage in sexual activities with other consenting adults of the same or opposite sex. Many cases have gone to the supreme court to decide the constitutionality of these issues pertaining to gay rights, Even though it is in the power of the supreme court to interpret the laws and the constitution, sometimes the Supreme Court makes the wrong decision. There was a point in time when the Supreme Court gave consent to the states to criminalize the act of adult males to engage in sexual sodomy in the privacy of their own homes. In the case of Bowers v. Hardwick the supreme court ruled against Hardwick stating that Georgia’s anti sodomy law was constitutional, however in the case of Lawrence v. Texas the Supreme Court overturned the Bowers decision and declared that such laws are in fact unconstitutional under due process and equal protection. Today the gay community still struggles to attain the same rights as heterosexual couples, but they get closer everyday.
First, at one point in time the United States Supreme Court gave the States consent to criminalize the acts of adult males to engage in sexual activities within the privacy of their own homes (Garvey, 2010). A prime example is found in the result of the case of Bowers vs. Hardwick. In August of 1982 Atlanta, Georgia police officer Torick issued a citation for public drinking to Michael Hardwick. Hardwick a bartender had merely thrown out a beer bottle into the dumpster out side of the gay bar where he worked. The police officer processed the ticket and marked out the actual court date which was on a Tuesday and wrote in Wednesday. When Hardwick failed to appear that Tuesday an arrest warrant was issued and the police officer decided to serve the warrant personally, however Hardwick was not home. When Hardwick came home and realized that officer Torick had been to his apartment, he went to the courthouse and paid the ticket. The arrest warrant was re-called, however officer Torick went to Hardwick’s apartment again a few weeks later to serve the warrant. When the officer got to the apartment a guest of Hardwick’s answered the door and allowed the officer into the apartment. “Officer Torick noticed that Hardwick’s door was ajar opened it further and proceeded into the room where Hardwick and a male companion were engaged in mutual consensual oral sex. Both men were then arrested for the act of sodomy which is defined in Georgia state law as “the carnal knowledge and connection against the order of nature, by man with man, or in the same...
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