Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This Week's Toon: John Lawrence

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Dec 28, 2011

John Lawrence, the plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, died on November 20 at the age of 68. While his death was not kept secret, it only came to national attention after a lawyer in the case attempted to invite him to a commemoration of the ruling.

Tyron Garner, the other man arrested with Mr. Lawrence (and also a petitioner in the court case), died in 2006.

The arrest stemmed from a false complaint from a malicious neighbor of gunshots in Lawrence's apartment, because of which a Harris County, Texas, sheriff's deputy entered the unlocked apartment with gun drawn.

In a curious development, Dale Carpenter (who used to write for Q Syndicate in its early days) is coming out with a book in March which charges that Lawrence and Garner were not in fact engaged in any sex act when arrested for “deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex”; indeed, Lawrence had told Carpenter that the two had never had sexual intercourse before, during or since.

At any rate, the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that Texas' antisodomy law was an unconstitutional infringement of personal liberty, overturning an earlier case, Bowers v. Hardwick. In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia, departing from his insistence that only the U.S. Constitution should inform a case, trotted out a parade of horrors that the court's decision would void laws defending Civilization against same-sex marriage, bigamy, prostitution, bestiality, necrophilia, and masturbation. (And what hope does Civilization have if the State can't outlaw masturbation in the privacy of one's home?)

The court's ruling voided anti-sodomy statutes in thirteen states. If you live in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Utah, Idaho or Michigan, you can thank John Geddes Lawrence for fighting for the right of you and your consenting adult partner to deviate from the missionary position without ending up on the National Registry of Sex Offenders, condemned to jail time followed by living under a freeway overpass.

Thanks to Dr. Thomas Schmeling for alerting me to this story!

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