But the Harris County District Attorney, represented by prosecutor William Delmore III, argues that heterosexuals and bisexuals also face the possibility of arrest and conviction if they for some reason choose to engage in sex with a person of the same gender.
Three other states - Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma - have similar laws criminalizing sodomy only between members of the same gender.Lambda also contends that the law violates the Constitutional right to privacy, a claim that has much broader implications, including for laws in nine other states that ban all sodomy, regardless of the gender of the participants.The privacy claim was at the heart of the attack on the Georgia law, a claim the court repudiated in the Bowers decision.
Humble beginningsThe case which gay-rights attorneys are hoping will yield a landmark decision striking down sodomy laws began incongruously - as a petty dispute between friends.
...Delmore, the Harris County prosecutor, said those who disagree with the law should turn to the Legislature, not the courts.
In filings requested by the Supreme Court in response to Lambda's petition for an appeal, Delmore
claimed that same-gender sodomy has been considered criminal behavior for centuries.In his
said lawmakers were justified in passing a law designed to set standards of sexual morality.The law is part of Texas' "communal belief that the conduct is wrong and should be discouraged," he
wrote in the filing.Delmore
also strongly relied on the Bowers decision, saying same-gender sex "could not conceivably have achieved the status of a fundamental right in the brief period of 16 years."In a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Texas, the California-based Pro Family Law Center
said states should be given leeway to protect the public from the spread of diseases like AIDS.
Corollary harms citedBut gay-rights groups, in filings before the court, urged the justices to accept the appeal.In its brief, the Human Rights Campaign said sodomy laws are responsible for "stigmatizing gays and lesbians as outlaws" and "contribute to an atmosphere of hatred and violence" against gays.