December 27, 2011

John Lawrence Dead at 68 } Responsible for Landmark Ruling on Privacy For Gays

  John Lawrence, the Houston man at the center of a landmark 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision that guaranteed privacy rights for gay men and lesbians, has died.
"John never got discouraged, and he always felt that in the end he would be vindicated, and he was right," said his lawyer, Mitchell Katine.
Lawrence, 68, died of a heart condition Nov. 20, said his partner Jose Garcia.
"We had a good time, we shared a lot of things, and those memories will stay with me for the rest of my life," Garcia said.
He said the holiday season, which Lawrence celebrated with gusto, has been tough for Garcia. "Christmas is really hard for me this year."
Although he was an icon in Houston's gay and lesbian community, Lawrence's death and memorial service passed without much attention. Katine found out Saturday.
The lawyer wanted to invite his most famous client to an April ceremony in which he will be recognized for his legal accomplishments.
In 1998, Lawrence and Tyrone Garner were arrested for violating state sodomy laws by police who came to Lawrence's home in response to a false report of gunman.
Police found the men having sex and arrested both for a misdemeanor outlawing same-gender couples in Texas to have sex, even in private. The pair spent several hours in jail before posting $200 bond.
"He was angry at how he was treated, both physically and personally - he was taken to jail in the middle of the night in his underwear," Katine said.
Garner died of meningitis in 2006, three years after the U.S. Supreme Court guaranteed same-sex couples the same right to privacy.

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