Citation. 539 US 558 (2003)
Brief Fact Summary. Police found two men engaged in sexual conduct, in their home, and they were arrested under a Texas statute that prohibited such conduct between two men.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. While homosexual conduct is not a fundamental right, intimate sexual relationships between consenting adults are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.
Facts. In Houston, Texas, Harris County Police officers were dispatched to a private home in response to a reported weapons disturbance. They entered (the right to enter does seem to have been questioned) the home where John Geddes resided, and observed Lawrence and another man, Tyron Garner, engaging in a sex act. The men were arrested, held over night and charged with violating a Texas statute making it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct. Specifically the statute provided “A person commits and offense if he engaged in deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex” and goes on to define deviate sexual intercourse as follows: “ any contact between any part of the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person or the penetration of the genitals or the anus of another person with an object”. The two men were then convicted before a Justice of the Pease.
Issue. The issue is whether a statute prohibiting specific sex acts violates liberty under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.