Bruce Garrett Cartoon

April 22, 2002

News Item:
Byron White, Author Of Hardwick Decision, Dies.

Former Supreme Court justice Byron White, author of the majority decision in the Hardwick v. Bowers case, has died.

In that case, White, writing for the majority, compared homosexuality to illicit drug usage, incest, adultery, "and other sexual crimes", arguing that were the court to overturn laws against sodomy, it could later have to overturn laws proscribing those activities too. White wrote that laws against homosexuality have "ancient roots" and that "to claim that a right to engage in such conduct is "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition" or "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty" is, at best, facetious."

Since Hardwick v. Bowers, Gay and Lesbian Americans have suffered numerous legal challenges to their ability to earn a living, acquire housing, make wills, raise their own children, serve in the military, assert visitation rights, and many other common rights which heterosexual Americans take for granted. Gay youth have been denied the right to a safe and secure environment in many school systems, on the basis that to protect them, would be to condone illegal activity.

White's career was praised from many quarters, including the Washington Post, which wrote, "his austere and simple vision of the court's role looks pretty good.

Copyright © April 22, 2002 by Bruce A. Garrett
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