Amicus Brief

Lawrence v. Texas: Amicus Brief

January 2003

The U.S. Supreme Court addresses whether a Texas sodomy law criminalizing certain intimate sexual conduct between two consenting adults of the same sex is constitutional.

  • William B. Rubenstein
    Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Pamela S. Karlan
    Professor, Stanford University


In September 1998, two men in Texas were arrested and charged under the state’s “Homosexual Conduct” law, which criminalizes sexual intimacy by same-sex couples. The men sued on the grounds that it violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Lower courts held in favor of the state and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in 2002.


The case would determine whether the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s right to participate in private, consensual sexual activity with a same-sex partner.


The brief argues that Texas’ “Homosexual Conduct” law is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment because it is not sufficiently related to the achievement of any legitimate government purpose. The law is used as a means of singling out LGB people for burdens not imposed on other individuals. In addition, the law is used to undermine family associations and restrict employment opportunities for LGB people.

Download the amicus brief

Lawrence v. Texas: Amicus Brief