Literature Study GuidesLawrence V Texas

Lawrence v. Texas | Study Guide

United States Supreme Court

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United States Supreme Court

Year Decided



Primary Source


Law, U.S. Supreme Court Case

At a Glance

  • Police responded to a report of a weapons disturbance at John Lawrence's home in Houston, Texas. They found Lawrence engaging in a consensual sexual act with Tyron Garner.
  • Police arrested both men for violating a rarely enforced Texas statute that prohibited "deviate sexual intercourse" between persons of the same sex.
  • In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether the Texas law violated the two men's right to due process or their right to equal protection under the law. Both rights are guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
  • The case was a direct challenge to Bowers v. Hardwick (1986). In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment did not prohibit states from making it a crime for consenting adults to engage in certain sexual conduct.
  • In presenting the majority opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy determined that the Texas statute violated the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.
  • In a 6–3 decision, the court ruled in favor of Lawrence, reversing Bowers v. Hardwick.
  • Lawrence v. Texas is considered a major step toward gaining rights for LGBTQ Americans.


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