Bowers v. Hardwick

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Bowers v. Hardwick was a 1986 United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) case that said that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution does not mean there is a a constitutional right for two people of the same gender to have sex. The case was about two men, so the exact words they used were "homosexual sodomy."[1]

The Supreme Court said that gay sex is not a deeply rooted right in American history and that it would not be possible for SCOTUS to create such a right without also creating a constitutional right to both adult incest and adultery.[1] The majority opinion was written by Justice Byron White. The other justices who agreed were Chief Justice Warren Earl Burger and Justices Lewis Powell, William Rehnquist, and Sandra Day O'Connor.[1] In a brief separate opinion, Chief Justice Burger said gay sex had been called bad for thousands of years, with William Blackstone calling gay sex worse than rape.[1] The dissenting opinion came from Justices Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, William Brennan, and Thurgood Marshall.[1] They disagreed with the majority opinion. Justice Blackmun said that the 14th amendment could create a constitutional right to have sex with another person of the same gender because of the right to privacy. He said that people have a right to be left alone and that saying this about gay sex did not mean people would be legally allowed to commit adult incest or adultery.[1]

Seventeen years later, the Supreme Court made the opposite decision. Bowers v. Hardwick was in the 2003 SCOTUS case Lawrence v. Texas.[1][2]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986)". Justia Law.
  2. Greenhouse, Linda (27 June 2003). "THE SUPREME COURT: HOMOSEXUAL RIGHTS; JUSTICES, 6-3, LEGALIZE GAY SEXUAL CONDUCT IN SWEEPING REVERSAL OF COURT'S '86 RULING" – via NYTimes.com.