Texas Court Overturns 'Homosexual Conduct' Law, Clears Men Arrested in Bedroom

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Teleconference: Thursday, June 8, 10 a.m. CDT
June 8, 2000

(NEW YORK, June 8, 2000) —The Texas Court of Appeals Thursday overturned the state’s anti-gay “Homosexual Conduct” Law, reversing convictions of two Houston men arrested for allegedly having sex in the bedroom of one man’s home, said Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which challenged the law and represented the pair.

In a teleconference at 10 a.m. CDT, Thursday, June 8, Lambda Staff Attorney Suzanne B. Goldberg, with Lambda Cooperating Attorney Mitchell Katine of the Houston law firm Williams, Birnberg & Anderson, will discuss the ruling.

The decision is the latest chapter in the ordeal begun in the early hours of September 17, 1998, when sheriff’s deputies arrested John Lawrence and Tyron Garner in Lawrence’s Houston apartment, charging both men with violating state law that forbids intimate, consensual sexual acts between partners of the same sex.

Lawrence and Garner were held in jail for over 24 hours and later pleaded “no contest” to the Class C misdemeanor, which carries up to a $500 fine. Lambda appealed on their behalf after a county criminal court refused to dismiss the charges and found them guilty as charged.

With Lambda’s victory over the Texas law, only three states, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma, still stigmatize gay people by prohibiting consensual sex between same-sex partners exclusively. Lambda continues its challenge against the Arkansas law with the case Picado v. Pryor. Twelve other states have laws on the books that criminalize consensual oral or anal sex between different and same-sex partners.

WHAT: Teleconference to discuss ruling in Lambda’s challenge to the Texas “Homosexual Conduct” Law WHO: Lambda Staff Attorney Suzanne Goldberg and Lambda Cooperating Attorney Mitchell Katine of the Houston law firm Williams, Birnberg & Anderson WHEN: Thursday, June 8, 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. CDT HOW: Call 913-661-0962; at the prompt, enter pass code 7825; Please RSVP to Lambda at 212-809-8585 if you wish to participate in the call.

(Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, Nos. 14-99-00111-CR & 14-99-00109-CR)

Contact: Peg Byron 212-809-8585 x 230, 888-987-1984 (pager)
Suzanne Goldberg 212-809-8585 x 21


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