Opinion of the Court
We granted certiorari, 537 U. S. 1044 (2002), to consider three questions:
1. Whether petitioners' criminal convictions under the Texas "Homosexual Conduct" law—which criminalizes sexual intimacy by same-sex couples, but not identical behavior by different-sex couples—violate the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the laws. 2. Whether petitioners' criminal convictions for adult consensual sexual intimacy in the home violate their vital interests in liberty and privacy protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 3. Whether Bowers v. Hardwick, supra, should be overruled? See Pet. for Cert. i.
The petitioners were adults at the time of the alleged offense. Their conduct was in private and consensual.
We conclude the case should be resolved by determining whether the petitioners were free as adults to engage in the private conduct in the exercise of their liberty under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. For this inquiry we deem it necessary to reconsider the Court's holding in Bowers.
There are broad statements of the substantive reach of liberty under the Due Process Clause in earlier cases, including Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510 (1925), and Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U. S. 390 (1923); but the most pertinent beginning point is our decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479 (1965).
In Griswold the Court invalidated a state law prohibiting the use of drugs or devices of contraception and counseling or aiding and abetting the use of contraceptives. The Court described the protected interest as a right to privacy andPage: Index Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next
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