Lawrence vs. Texas Revisited

Jim Burroway

June 26th, 2008

Driver error led me to prematurely celebrate the five year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling which struck down anti-sodomy laws across the nation. Dr. Gregory Herek apparently is in better control of his blogging software than I am of mine.

Dr. Herek is a prolific researcher and professor of psychology at U.C. Davis. Today he posted excerpts from a longer article he wrote to commemorate the ruling. In it, he explores the role that social science played in that ruling and what it tells us today in our current debates over same-sex marriage. He concludes:

Because current debates about law and policy concerning sexual orientation inevitably raise questions about the nature of intimate relationships, parenting, family dynamics, and the personal impact of sexual stigma — phenomena that have been extensively studied by behavioral and social scientists — psychologists and other behavioral scientists have an ongoing role to play in communicating our knowledge to policy makers, jurists, and the public.

By doing so, we will continue to fulfill our longstanding commitment to take the lead in removing the stigma historically attached to homosexuality and same-sex intimate relationships.

Like everything else Dr. Herek writes, this is well worth reading and bookmarking.

tristram

June 26th, 2008

I’m afraid your celebration might be premature in another respect. In all likelihood, the next President is going to establish the direction of the federal judiciary, and in particular the Supreme Court, for the next three decades. McCain has promised his proxy on judicial nominations to the extreme right. I would like to think that Senate could block the next Scalia or Thomas, but there is no guaranty. Even one McCain appointment, say another Roberts, and we can look for prayer and creationism in the schools, loosening of Constitutional restrictions on the executive branch, and re-intrusion of government into the private lives of all Americans – including the possibility that ‘Lawrence v. Texas’ will be reversed or severely limited. I heard a speech by Scalia a couple of years ago in which he made it clear that overturning ‘Lawrence’ is a top priority for him.

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