Law to Change
Laws to change
In the United States, laws that criminalize homosexual behaviors are known as sodomy laws. Before 2003, it was illegal to engage in homosexual behaviors. However, in Lawrence v. Texas case, the Supreme Court on June 26, 2003 ruled that adults were free to engage in consensual sex without any form of interference from the government. The Supreme Court put some caveats on state governments’ sexual morality legislations. Sodomy laws in states like Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas were subsequently declared unconstitutional. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court categorically stated that the gays’ entitlement to respect for private life should never be denied and the state should never demean their existence or appear to control their destiny by criminalizing their private sexual conduct (Greenhouse, 2003). The Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 decision overturned the 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick ruling that upheld that sodomy law was constitutional in the State of Georgia. The Supreme Court judges regretted the continuance of the 1986 ruling as precedent demeaned the lives of homosexual persons. The Supreme Court in a 6 to 3 majority ruling also declared the Texas anti-sodomy law unconstitutional. This law criminalized anal and oral sex that took place between people of same sex. The ruling was handed down on the premise that an individual’s liberty and personal life should in no way be interfered with by the government. The judges were categorical that the state cannot be omnipresent in people’s homes and that liberty presumes autonomy of self. Individuals have freedom of thought, belief, expression, and intimate conducts.
It was apparent that this ruling disregarded the provisions of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. constitution that guarantees equal protection to all citizens since Texas law branded homosexuals as criminals. This made it pretty difficult for them to be treated in same manner as heterosexuals. The Supreme Court ruling did not indicate whether the government should formally recognized relationships that homosexuals sought to enter. The decision decriminalized same sex behavior but failed to guarantee gays and lesbians the right to marry. Homosexual behavior should be criminalized because it popularizes homosexual agenda. Decisions by individuals to be homosexuals or heterosexuals are a pure culture war. What will become of states that have laws that limit marriage to opposite couples? Homosexuals just like any other grouping are free to push their agenda through normal democratic means but they have to realize that Americans have values they dearly hold on to and those values have to be upheld. Legalizing homosexual behaviors through courts can only be compared to judicial imposition where judges depart from their sacrosanct role of assuring that democratic rules of engagement are observed by pretending that enough freedom has been left. Homosexual behaviors should be criminalized because declaring anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional dismantles the structure of constitutional law that clearly distinguishes heterosexual from homosexual unions with regard to recognition of formal marriages (Harper, 2003). Criminalizing homosexual behavior would ensure that laws against bigamy, adultery, prostitution, bestiality, and obscenity remain steadfast. Homosexual behaviors should be criminalized because they encourage homosexual activities.
In as much as we would want to criminalize homosexual behaviors, such attempts are more likely to hit a snag considering the implications of the Supreme Court ruling that in 2003 declared anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional. The state cannot be omnipresent. When state agents’ services are marshaled in executing such laws there is a likelihood that people’s private life will be interfered with.
Greenhouse, L. (2003, June 27). Justices, 6-3, legalize gay sexual conduct in sweeping reversal of court’s ’86 ruling. Cite privacy right. Texas sodomy law held unconstitutional
Scathing dissent. The New York Times, A1 & A19
Harper, T. (2003, June 27). Sodomy laws struck down: Highest U.S. court says Texas statute unconstitutional. Dissenter warns of legalized marriage for homosexuals. Toronto Star,
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