bowers

Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186. U.S. Supreme Court 1986.

Facts: In 1982, Hardwick was charged for violating Georgia’s anti-sodomy statute by committing sodomy with another male in the bedroom of his house. Hardwick challenged the constitutionality of the statute insofar it criminalized consensual sodomy.

Procedural History: Hardwick brought suit to Federal District Court. District Court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court’s decision. The Attorney General petitioned the Supreme Court and was granted cert.

Issues: Whether the due process clause in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution confers a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy.

Holding: No

Reasoning: In previous cases, the Court has labeled individual rights to marriage, procreation, and family relationships as fundamental rights. Since sodomy has no resemblance to these rights, sodomy is not a constitutionally protected act. Hardwick’s claim that sodomy is deeply rooted in our society is false because sodomy by common law tradition has been illegal before the bill of rights was signed. The claim that the sodomy should have been legal because it occurred because it occurred in the privacy of his own home does not work because if that were to be accepted it would lead to incest, adultery, and other sex crimes to be immune from prosecution.

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