John Lawrence and Tyron Garner
The Rehnquist Court (1994-2005). Seated, from left to right: Antonin Scalia and John Paul Stevens, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony M. Kennedy. Standing, from left to right: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David H. Souter, Clarence Thomas, and Stephen G. Breyer.
Texas State Capitol in Austin
Section 21.06 of the Texas Penal Code
Lawrence v. Texas (2003) held that a criminal prohibition of homosexual sodomy violated the Due Process Clause. The third case, United States v. Windsor (2013), declared unconstitutional portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Lawrence began in Houston, Texas. Police officers were dispatched to a private residence in response to a reported weapons disturbance. The officers observed John Lawrence and another man, Tyron Garner, engaging in a sexual act. They arrested the men and charged them with violating Texas’s ban on “sodomy,” which prohibited sexual acts between members of the same sex. The couple pleaded no contest, and the lower courts upheld their conviction.