Mica England is a lesbian who had been denied processing of her application for employment by police department sued state, city and police chief challenging constitutionality of statute criminalizing private sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex.
The 200th Judicial District Court, Travis County, Lawrence L. Fuller, J., granted state's plea to jurisdiction but held statute unconstitutional and enjoined city and police chief from enforcing statute and from denying employment in police department to lesbians and gay men solely because they violate the statute.
City, police chief and plaintiff appealed.
The Court of Appeals held that:
- district court had jurisdiction to rule on constitutionality of the statute;
- irreparable injury and lack of adequate remedy at law requirements for injunctive relief were satisfied;
- denial of police chief's defense of qualified immunity had to be raised in severed damages cause of action;
- state's plea to jurisdiction was properly sustained. Affirmed.
After a protracted legal fight, settled the suit for $73,000, nearly half of which went to her lawyers, England's case caused the Texas Supreme Court in 1993 to strike down the state's sodomy law - a ruling hailed nationwide by gay and lesbian activists. Bigotry is still bubbling just below the surface and sometimes in the most surprising quarters.