October 27, 2013

Bowers v. Hardwick | Case Brief - 478 U.S. 186 (1986) - United States Supreme Court

Facts: Defendant was discovered committing an act of sodomy with another adult male in the bedroom of the respondent's home.  The state of Georgia has a statute which criminalizes sodomy.

Procedural History: Respondent brought suit challenging the statute's constitutionality in the US 11th Circuit Court.

Issues: 

Broad Question - Does the constitution protect the right to freedom of expression in the privacy of one's home?

Narrow Question - Does the constitution protect the rights of homosexuals to engage in sodomy?

Holding: No and No

Rationale: The constitution does not grant a fundamental right for homosexuals to engage in acts of consensual sodomy.  To  invalidate this law, which is based essentially on moral choices, is to set precedent to invalidate many laws which may be reviewed under the Due Process Clause.

Disposition: Reversed decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court of the 11th District.

Interesting Dicta: "sexual intimacy is a sensitive key relationship of human existence, central to family life, community welfare, and the development of human personality."