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John Geddes Lawrence
(August 2, 1943 - November 20, 2011) U.S.A:

John Lawrence

Medical technologist


John Lawrence was born in Beaumont, Texas. He served in the U.S. Navy for four years, and worked as a medical technologist in Texas hospitals until his retirement in 2009.

On September 17, 1998, John Lawrence hosted Tyron Garner and Robert Eubanks at his home in Houston; Lawrence and Garner were friends, and Garner and Eubanks had a tempestuous longtime relationship.

Eubanks, drunk and furious at what he thought was Lawrence and Garner's flirting, left and called the police, reporting "a black male going crazy with a gun" at Lawrence's apartment; within minutes, four Harris County sheriff's deputies arrived, entering the apartment with guns drawn.

Given their relationship, it is almost certain that Lawrence and Garner were not engaged in any sexual activity. Nonetheless, the men were charged under Texas' anti-sodomy law, and lawyers from Lambda Legal convinced them to help mount a test case to overturn Bowers .

Lawrence overturned the relatively recent Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) decision, in which the Court upheld Georgia's anti-sodomy law.

Garner Lawrence
Tyron Garner, left, and John Lawrence, right, celebrating the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas
Houston, Texas, June 26, 2003

On June 26, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court, with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the five-justice majority, struck down as unconstitutional the Texas anti-sodomy law, invalidating similar laws in thirteen other states, and guaranteeing a right to privacy for same-sex sexual activity.

"When homosexual conduct is made criminal by the law of the State, that declaration... is an invitation to subject homosexual persons to discrimination both in the public and in the private spheres."
Justice Anthony Kennedy, Lawrence v. Texas , June 26, 2003.

Five years later, the Supreme Court announced, "Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today... [it] should be and now is overruled."

John Lawrence died of heart disease in 2011; he was sixty-eight.

Robert Eubanks was beaten to death in 2000 and Tyron Garner died of meningitis in 2006 at age thirty-nine.


Source: http://lgbt-history-archive.tumblr.com/ - et alii

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