Austin, Texas (September 13, 2006) – Equality Texas mourns the death of Tyrone Garner, one of the two plaintiffs in 2003′s landmark U. S. Supreme Court case, Lawrence and Garner v. Texas.
Paul E. Scott, Executive Director of Equality Texas, issued the following statement:
“We mourn the death of Tyrone Garner and express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Many of the greatest advancements in liberty and equality have occurred when unlikely advocates had the courage to fight for justice. We honor his courage for publically challenging Texas’s sodomy statute and advancing LGBT equality.”
Eight years ago, on September 17, 1998, Tyrone Garner and John Lawrence were arrested in Lawrence’s Houston-area home when a Harris County sheriff’s officer found the men engaged in private, consensual sex. The two were charged with violating Texas’s anti-sodomy statute, the Texas “Homosexual Conduct” law.
On June 26, 2003, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Texas’s “Homosexual Conduct” law was unconstitutional. The ruling struck down the sodomy laws in the thirteen states that still had them. Sodomy laws were used almost exclusively to justify discrimination against lesbians and gay men.
“It is important to remember that is has only been three years since the U. S. Supreme Court finally acknowledged the validity of our lives and relationships”, said Equality Texas’s Paul Scott. “We should honor the hard-fought battle of Tyrone Garner by continuing to fight for our liberty and equality.”
Although made unenforceable by the ruling of the U. S. Supreme Court, Section 21.06 of the Texas Penal Code, the “Homosexual Conduct” law, still remains in Texas statutes.
Paul E. Scott, Executive Director, Equality Texas: 512-474-5475.
Equality Texas works toward the elimination of social, legal, and economic discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression through lobbying, education and research directed toward the Texas Legislature and other state governmental agencies.