Supreme Court Overturns Texas Sodomy Law

Soulforce Expresses Jubilation and Hope for the Future

Soulforce Press Release: June 26, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell 717-278-0592

(Lynchburg, VA) – Leaders of Soulforce today express jubilation at the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Lawrence v Texas overturning Texas’s sodomy law. Until today, it had been illegal in 13 states for same sex couples to engage in certain types of sexual behavior in their own homes.

The Texas case began when police responded to a false report of a weapons disturbance and busted into John Lawrence’s home. Although the police found no weapons, they did find Mr. Lawrence with Tyrone Garner engaged in sex and arrested them both. Texas courts found both men guilty and today’s decision overturns those convictions.

“This is a fantastic day for all people because the Supreme Court has recognized that our government has no place in our bedrooms, nor a right to selectively single out people of minority sexual orientation for criminal punishment,” said Rev. Mel White, founder and director of Soulforce, Inc. “Maybe some churches that alienate and degrade us will see the light after today as well.”

Soulforce, a national interfaith organization dedicated to ending spiritual violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, signed on to an amicus curiae brief filed by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund urging the Court to strike down the Texas law as it did today.

Today decision overturned both the Texas court decision in Lawrence v. Texas and the1986 Supreme Court decision in the Bowers v Hardwick case that upheld Georgia sodomy laws. According to CNN, the late Justice Lewis Powell, the deciding vote in the Bowers decision, later said he probably made a mistake with his decision on that case. Today’s decision corrected that mistake.

“I’m free, I’m free, I am no longer a criminal for who I love, I am free to be who God created me to be,” said Karen Weldin, Soulforce Director of Operations. “I hope this gives people hiding in the closet the sense of freedom and courage to come out and be proud of who they are and who they love.”

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Laura Montgomery Rutt
Director of Communications
Soulforce, Inc

Soulforce is a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Soulforce employs the nonviolent principles of Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities.