IN MEMORIAM

John Geddes Lawrence Of Lawrence v. Texas Passes Away

John Geddes Lawrence (right), one of the defendants in 1998’s Lawrence v. Texas sodomy case, has died at age 68.

Lawrence, who died on November 20, served in the Navy and was later a medical technician. He and Tyron Garner were arrested in 1998 by a sherriff’s deputy who barged into Lawrence’s Houston apartment with guns drawn, following up on a false report of “weapons disturbance.” (Neighbor Robert Royce Eubanks had already been accused of harassing Lawrence and Garner and later admitted he was lying.)

Lawrence and Garner were charged with violating Texas’s anti-sodomy statute, but in its ruling, the Supreme Court stated that targeting male-on-male sex acts violates the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause and did nothing to further legitimate government interests.

As Lambda Legal executive director Kevin Cathcart told The Advocate:

“Because Tyron Garner and John Lawrence had the courage to challenge homophobic sodomy laws, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that love, sexuality, and family play the same role in gay people’s lives as they do for everyone else. That’s a colossal legacy and one for which his community will forever be thankful.”

Garner (at left in photo) passed away  on September 11, 2006.

Source: Metro Weekly