Rep. Jerrold Nadler Hails Supreme Court Ruling Striking Down Texas Statute "A Victory for Privacy and Equality"

Jun 25, 2003

U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-Brooklyn & Manhattan) hailed today’s ruling by the Supreme Court striking down the Texas so-called “gay sodomy” statute as a “victory for privacy and equality.”

“All Americans have the right to be free from governmental assault on their privacy. Nowhere is this more true than matters involving private, intimate relations between consenting adults that do no one any harm,” Congressman Nadler said. “With today’s decision, the Court has made clear that criminal sanctions aimed at couples because of their sexual orientation are unacceptable. That is a triumph for American values of equality and autonomy.”

The Supreme Court’s 6 - 3 decision clearly and unequivocally struck down all criminal laws against private, consensual relations between individuals of the same gender. The Court’s decision also carries the clear implication that the few remaining laws criminalizing private, consensual relations between heterosexuals, including married couples, are also unconstitutional.

“As a practical matter, the Court is following the lead of the elected legislatures around the country, most of which have voluntarily repealed these laws,” said Congressman Nadler. “More than half of all states no longer have such laws on the books. Only four states single out same-sex couples in their criminal laws, and nine states still have criminal laws that apply equally to heterosexual and gay couples. Even Georgia, the state whose law was the subject of the Bowers v. Hardwick decision overturned today, no longer has a similar law.”

“Today, those intrusive and destructive laws are part of this nation’s past.” Congressman Nadler observed, “There are many who will try to argue that this case is a threat to the nation or that it opens the door to abusive behaviors of all kinds. That is not true. It is not what the Court said, and it’s not what happened in the 37 states and the District of Columbia where this decision is already the law.”

Congressman Nadler said, “The words of Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority of the Court, are clear, ‘The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle. The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.’”

Rep. Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents the 8th Congressional District of New York, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. He is the Ranking Democratic Member of the Subcommittee on the Constitution.