Notable Items:

Overruled by Lawrence v. Texas (2003)
Venue: Supreme Court of the United States
Opinion of the Court: Bowers v. Hardwick (1986)

Issue(s) Before the Court:

The issue presented is whether the Federal Constitution confers a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy, and hence invalidates the laws of the many States that still make such conduct illegal, and have done so for a very long time.

Petitioner's Claim(s):

First, petitioner asserts that the acts made criminal by the statute may have serious adverse consequences for "the general public health and welfare," such as spreading communicable diseases or fostering other criminal activity.
The assertion that "traditional Judeo-Christian values proscribe" the conduct involved, Brief for Petitioner 20, cannot provide an adequate justification for § 16-6-2.

Respondent's Claim(s):

challenging the constitutionality of the [Georgia] statute insofar as it criminalized consensual sodomy.

Holding(s) and Disposition:

Held: The Georgia statute is constitutional.
... any claim that those cases stand for the proposition that any kind of private sexual conduct between consenting adults is constitutionally insulated from state proscription is unsupportable.
... to claim that a right to engage in such conduct is "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition" or "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty" is, at best, facetious.
There should be great resistance to expand the reach of the Due Process Clauses to cover new fundamental rights. The claimed right in this case falls far short of overcoming this resistance.
The fact that homosexual conduct occurs in the privacy of the home does not affect the result.
Sodomy laws should not be invalidated on the asserted basis that majority belief that sodomy is immoral is an inadequate rationale to support the laws.
Disposition: 760 F.2d 1202, reversed.

Material Facts:

Procedural History:


White Majority Opinion (Burger, Powell, Rehnquist, O'Connor)

Burger Concurrance (??)

Powell Concurrance (??)

Blackmun Dissent (Brennan, Marshall, Stevens)

Stevens Dissent (Brennan, Marshall)

Full Recounting of Facts

Majority Full Argument