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NCJ Number: 97412 Find in a Library
Title: Right of Privacy and Other Constitutional Challenges to Sodomy Statutes
Journal: University of Toledo Law Review  Volume:15  Issue:2  Dated:(Winter 1984)  Pages:811-875
Author(s): C T Pearson
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 65
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Sodomy statutes have been rightly challenged on a variety of grounds, including their violation of the constitutional right of privacy, and unfairly discriminate against homosexuals.
Abstract: A New York case involving the conviction of a man who engaged in consensual sexual relations with a 17-year old male showed that sodomy statutes are enforceable and enforced today. Although the New York Court of Appeals upheld the appellate court's ruling that the New York law was unconstitutional, the case shows that the constitutionality issue is of concern. Although most sodomy laws apply to both sexes, they mainly impact homosexuals, and their roots lie in the cultural and historical condemnation of homosexual behavior. Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court have established the right to privacy, which is the strongest basis for challenging sodomy statutes. However, alternative arguments are that sodomy statutes deny equal protection of the laws by discriminating against homosexuals and that the laws have no rational relationship to a permissible state objective. However, these and other approaches are less likely than the privacy argument to be effective in court challenges. Since the Supreme Court has accepted the constitutional right of privacy, it should break from the past and listen to the views of the authorities in many western nations advocating permission of privately conducted sexual activity between consenting adults. Footnotes containing references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Homosexuality; Right of privacy; Sex offenses; State laws; US Supreme Court decisions
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