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About Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013 | View Entire Issue (Aug. 1, 1985)
Victory in challenge
to Georgia law
In a 2-1 decision, a Federal Appellate Court
has held that the C onstitutional right to p ri
vacy protects hom osexual activity. The ruling
, was made in a case that challenged the con
stitutionality o f the Georgia sodom y law. In
addition, the 11th C ircu it C ourt o f Appeals
ruled that Georgia would need to show some
com pelling state interest if it wanted to regu
late private adult sexual activity at all.
The C ourt’s decision has been hailed by
gay leaders as a m ajor victory. Jean O ’Leary,
Executive D irector o f National Gay Rights
Advocates, said: “T his decision is significant
because sodom y laws are the bedrock of
discrim ination against gay m en and wom en
in this country.” O ’Leary also pointed out that
since these laws crim inalize our very exist
ence, lawsuits w ill be filed against every state
that still has one on their books.
Abby Rubenfeld, M anaging Attorney o f
Lam bda Legal Defense and Education Fund,
said: “The C ourt set an extrem ely im portant
precedent in this case. It’s the first tim e a U.S.
C ourt o f Appeals has held that the right to
privacy protects lesbians and gay men."
Rubenfeld noted that it is also the first tim e
that such a cou rt has forced a state to justify
its reasons fo r having a sodom y statute.
The case was filed tw o years ago when
M ichael Hardwick was arrested in his own
bedroom and charged with sodomy. Sodomy
in Georgia is a felony that carries a sentence
o f 20 years in prison. Cathy W ilde, an attorney
in Atlanta, represented Hardwick at both the
D istrict C ourt and C ourt o f Appeals.
Gay men and
Previous research in the gay/lesbian co m
m unity has indicated a preference fo r retire
m ent housing and long term care facilities
w hich are hom osexually oriented. To elicit
m ore detailed and accurate inform ation con
cerning interest in such facilities fo r older
lesbians and gay men, a nationwide survey is
being conducted by Dr. A J . Lucco, Fellow in
G eriatric M edicine at The Johns Hopkins
University School o f M edicine in Baltim ore.
Gay m en and lesbians who w ill be at least
55 years old by the end of the current calendar
year are needed to com plete an anonym ous,
self-adm inistered questionnaire which asks
fo r dem ographic data as well as opinions in
A M O R E H U M A N A N D N A TU R A L
K IN D OF H EALTH CARE
regard to and retirem ent housing options
and preferences. If you qualify and are w illilng
to participate, please contact: A J. Lucco,
M.D., The Beacham Center. 5200 Eastern
Avenue, Baltim ore, Maryland 21224.
O rganizations w illing to distribute
questionnaires are also asked to reply.
The study is being funded privately by the
principal investigator. Results will be com piled
and m ade available to gay/lesbian organiza
tio n s around the country w hich are interested
in developing retirem ent facilities for older
Just O ut. August. 1985
gay rights advocacy
The Am erican Bar Association's House of
Delegates rejected, by nine votes, a proposal
to use the resources o f the lawyer's group to
lobby at federal, state and local levels for civil
rights fo r lesbians and gays.
The resolution on behalf o f gays and les
bians urged governm ents to adopt legisla
tio n p ro h ib itin g discrim in atio n in em ploy
m ent, housing and public accom m odations
on the basis o f sexual orientation.
Debate preceding the 161-152 vote rejec
tio n included the reading o f a letter o f support
fro m Cardinal Joseph Bernardin o f Chicago,
w ho stated that although he advocated civil
rights fo r lesbians and gays, he did not
endorse th e ir lifestyle.
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