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In Brief Lambda Legal | Making the Case for Equality
June 24, 2018   Join us on:  Facebook.  Twitter.  YouTube
The Meaning of Lawrence
Susan Sommer
Director of Constitutional Litigation

Dale Carpenter’s new book, Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas, refocuses much-deserved attention on the Supreme Court’s stunning 2003 ruling, which declared consensual sodomy prohibitions unconstitutional and flung open doors to equality for LGBT people around the nation. Lawrence, litigated before the Supreme Court by Lambda Legal and its Jenner & Block co-counsel, proclaimed that the Constitution protects the liberty of lesbian and gay individuals to engage in sexual conduct and forge personal relationships. The Court’s ringing declaration that its 1986 ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick denying this right “was wrong when it was decided” retracted a devastating precedent that had enshrined and fueled discrimination. Lawrence rejected the premise that lesbian, gay and bisexual people can be criminalized simply because of moral disapproval of their sexuality. In the process, the decision swept away doctrinal as well as symbolic barriers to recognizing that unequal treatment of LGBT people is discrimination that cannot be tolerated in a just society. Read More »

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