Supreme Court Case: Bowers V. Hardwick (1986)

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Karina Dyal
PHIL 340: Ethics and Law
Legal Brief Assignment—Lawrence v. Texas
Case: Bowers v. Hardwick (1986)

Facts: Oral and anal sex between two individuals from the same gender was deemed illegal—implemented through a Georgia statute. Hardwick who was an adult male, was charged in 1982 for violating the statute by engaging in sexual activities with another male in his home. The case was not pursued by the District Attorney, who also decided to not have the case presented before a grand jury. Hardwick went to the federal district court where he questioned the statute’s constitutionality.
Issue: Does the U.S. Constitution give homosexual individuals the fundamental right to have sexual intercourse, and therefore renders the laws …show more content…

Rule: The Supreme Court mandated in favor of the state of Georgia; Homosexual sexual activities were ruled to be neither “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” or “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” (pp. 506) Despite what the Court of Appeals found, no previous cases of the Court had supported that the Constitution allowed for an expansion of privacy towards homosexual sodomy. In fact, homosexual acts were criminal acts under the common law, and were prohibited in the laws that were established in the thirteen states during the approval of the Bill of Rights. Homosexual sodomy was also illegal under the laws in almost all states, excluding five, around the time the Fourteenth Amendment was signed, and in 1961 in all fifty states. At the time, in 1981, twenty four states—including the District of Columbia—issued sanctions for homosexual activity between two adults who agree to such behavior and who engage in the activity behind closed doors. The limits on extending a right to privacy to homosexual acts within the home are not easily defined, since other criminal acts are not immunized simply because they occur within the home. It would likewise be difficult to limit the right to voluntary sexual acts between consenting adults, as this would leave open the question of adultery, incest, and other sexual crimes that might occur in the …show more content…

The case is about the right to be left alone, rather than the right to take part in sexual activity with someone of the same gender. Blackmun states that the case should be looked at through a lens that focuses on the principles that our founded under the right to privacy in the constitution (pp.507). There is not enough reason or grounds on the side of the majority to violate the basic rights to privacy. It is also not enough to claim that sexual acts of homosexuals is immoral to Judeo-Christians and has been for many years; because it may be immoral to certain religious groups but should not be illegal to all citizens

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