Brief Fact Summary. Appellee was convicted for exhibiting and distributing contraceptive articles under a law that forbid single as opposed to married people from obtaining contraceptives.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Dissimilar treatment between married and unmarried persons is unconstitutional when the dissimilar treatment is unrelated to a rational State objective.
Held. The dissimilar treatment of similarly situated married and unmarried persons under the Massachusetts law violates the Equal Protection Clause.
First, the deterrence of premarital sex cannot be reasonably regarded as the purpose of the law, because the ban has at best a marginal relating to the proffered objective.
Second, if health is the rationale of the law, it is both discriminatory and overbroad.
Third, the right to obtain contraceptives must be the same for married and unmarried individuals.
Dissent. Chief Justice Burger. The law is a justified exercise of the State’s police power because of the hazards of introducing a foreign substance into the human body.
Discussion. The right of privacy is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted government intrusion.