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Profamily activists fear that the Supreme Court's June 26 Lawrence and Garner v. Texas decision, which struck down state laws prohibiting homosexual sodomy, also jeopardizes the marriage laws of all 50 states.

"Laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman are in the gun sights of the courts," said Matt Daniels, founder of the Alliance for Marriage in Springfield, Virginia. "The Lawrence case has everything to do with the legal status of marriage."

The 6-3 ruling struck down a Texas statute against homosexual sodomy. It also overturned the Court's 5-4 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), which found no constitutionally protected right to homosexual sex.

Paul M. Smith of the gay-rights organization Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund argued before the Court in March that Texas's statute violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

"The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority. "The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime."

After the Court announced its verdict, Lambda officials said they would use Lawrence as a tool in future lawsuits concerning marriage.

National implications


Daniels said the Lawrence ruling, coupled with an expected pro-homosexual marriage decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, would have immediate national implications.

Because of the Full Faith and Credit Clause in Article 4 of the U.S. Constitution, the Goodridge verdict could invalidate the Defense of Marriage Act. Congress overwhelmingly passed DOMA, which President Clinton signed, only seven years ago. DOMA defines marriage as ...

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hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2003

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