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Today is Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Log Cabin Files Brief in Sodomy Law Case

The Log Cabin Republicans and its associated think tank, the Liberty Education Forum, announced plans Wednesday to file a friend-of-the-court brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the challenge to the Texas sodomy law.

The gay Republicans said their brief will ask the court to strike all sodomy laws on privacy grounds, and will also argue that the Texas "homosexual conduct" law violates the Equal Protection Clause by singling out same-sex couples for special penalties. Heterosexual couples in Texas and three other states are not subjected to such sex laws, while nine additional states outlaw oral and anal sex for everyone.

The nine justices, who accept only 1 or 2 percent of petitions to the court, granted review of Lawrence and Garner v. Texas in late November. Argued by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the case stems from the 1998 arrest of two Houston men in their own bedroom, after police entered their home on a false report of an armed intruder. Once inside, officers arrested John Lawrence and Tyron Garner on misdemeanor sodomy charges, and threw them in jail for 24 hours.

Lawrence and Garner contested their arrest, and after losing at the early stages, won a victory at the state appellate court, which was later reversed. Lambda Legal, having exhausted the courts of Texas, petitioned the high court to hear Lawrence and Garner last summer.

According to Lambda, the appellant's brief, along with the friend-of-the-court briefs in support of Lawrence and Garner, are due Jan. 16. Oral arguments will likely be scheduled some time in March, and a decision could be handed down as early as late June.

On Tuesday, Lambda announced plans for a series of town meetings and community presentations in the 13 states that currently outlaw consensual sodomy.

"Since the day the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear our case, there's been a tremendous amount of interest and energy from LGBT people and straight allies nationwide who want to seize this historic moment with us," said Hector Vargas of Lambda's Southern regional office.

The meetings will begin in Alabama next week, and continue through the spring in the other states with sodomy laws remaining on the books, which include: Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Utah and, of course, Texas.

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