Lawrence v. Texas Case Brief

Facts of the case

Responding to a reported weapons disturbance in a private residence, Houston police entered John Lawrence’s apartment and saw him and another adult man, Tyron Garner, engaging in a private, consensual sexual act. Lawrence and Garner were arrested and convicted of deviate sexual intercourse in violation of a Texas statute forbidding two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct. In affirming, the State Court of Appeals held that the statute was not unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, with Bowers v. Hardwick , 478 U.S. 186 (1986) , controlling.

Why is the case important?

&nbsp Police found two men engaged in sexual conduct, in their home, and they were arrested under a Texas statute that prohibited such conduct between two men.


The issue is whether a statute prohibiting specific sex acts violates liberty under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


Yes, intimate sexual conduct, between consenting adults, is a liberty protected under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


The Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.

  • Advocates: Paul M. Smith Argued the cause for the petitioners Charles A. Rosenthal, Jr. Harris County Houston, Texas, argued the cause for Texas
  • Petitioner: John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner
  • Respondent: Texas
  • DECIDED BY:Rehnquist Court
  • Location: Apartment of John Lawrence
Citation: 539 US 558 (2003)
Argued: Mar 26, 2003
Decided: Jun 26, 2003
Lawrence v. Texas Case Brief