Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 16:31:32 EST
Subject: False Americans


It is hard to fathom how anyone who considers themselves an American can countenance such ridiculous invasions of privacy as this article details. Remember....the price of freedom is eternal vigilance...For way, way too long the sniveling busybodies of America have been allowed to dictate our lives for us....I say spit on the busybodies...they are unfit to breathe American air.


Texas Pair To Fight Sodomy Charges

.c The Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) -- Sheriff's deputies responding to a false report of an armed intruder inside an apartment caught two men having sex and arrested them, setting up a case that could bring an end to Texas' rarely enforced, 119-year- old law against sodomy.

The law, modified by the 1995 Legislature, makes homosexual oral and anal sex a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.

"This is just unbelievable that in 1998, this sort of arrest could happen," said Mitchell Katine, a lawyer for the two men. Katine said they will fight the charge on constitutional grounds.

After receiving the false report Sept. 17, Harris County sheriff's deputies entered the apartment through what they said was an open door and found the men having sex. One of the men lived in the apartment.

Tyrone Garner, 31, and John Geddes Lawrence, 55, cited for homosexual conduct and jailed before being released on $200 bail.

The man who called police, Roger David Nance, pleaded no contest to filing a false report and served 15 days in jail.

As for why the phony call about an armed intruder was made to police, David Jones, an attorney for Garner and Lawrence, said there was probably a "personality conflict between the caller and the people in the apartment."

Activists and attorneys couldn't cite another Texas case in which consenting adults were prosecuted for engaging in private sexual conduct.

District Attorney John B. Holmes Jr. said two or three sodomy cases had been prosecuted in Harris County over the last 30 years, but those involved homosexual contact witnessed by others in jail. None involved conduct in private.

Gay activists have tried for years to have the sodomy law struck from the books, arguing that it is often used to justify anti-gay discrimination. But with no defendant in a criminal case, efforts to remove the law have met with mixed success.

Activists said the latest case could sink the sodomy law. "Obviously, that's what we're hoping," said Clarence Bagby, president of the Houston Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.

The district attorney himself questioned the fairness of the law. "But I've always said that the best way to get rid of a bad law is to enforce it," Holmes said.

Texas is one of six states that make consensual oral and anal sex between homosexual couples a crime, even if the sex takes place behind closed doors in a home. Thirteen other states have sodomy laws banning such sex between heterosexual or homosexual couples.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1986 upheld Georgia's sodomy law as applied to its ban on consenting adults engaging in homosexual conduct. The Georgia law had been challenged by a gay Atlanta bartender who was arrested in 1982 after being spotted having sex in his home. Prosecutors later dropped the charge.

The decision prompted gay rights advocates to file lawsuits in state courts arguing the laws violate state constitutions. Many constitutions provide greater protection of privacy than the U.S. Constitution.

Neil McCabe, a professor at South Texas College of Law, said the Texas law is unconstitutional.

"In these essentially private activities people are protected as part of a constitutional right of privacy," McCabe said. "Our Texas courts have held there is a constitutional right to privacy."

In Louisiana, a civil trial challenging the state's sodomy law began on Oct. 26.

AP-NY-11-06-98 1540EST

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.


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