Dispatches > The Buzz

In Brief: Lawrence aftershocks

The gay advocacy legal-defense group that won the landmark sodomy case on the last day of the Supreme Court term this summer is working to consolidate and "extend our reach even further.&

Issue: "Capitol stampede in Texas," Aug. 9, 2003

The gay advocacy legal-defense group that won the landmark sodomy case on the last day of the Supreme Court term this summer is working to consolidate and "extend our reach even further." Lambda Legal, which calls the Lawrence vs. Texas ruling a "powerful tool for gay people," has launched a "Forging a New Era" plan to press for "marriage and relationship recognition," and make gains in parenting, employment, and "other areas of life."

Specifically, Lambda is "defining the next battlegrounds" by launching legal challenges to overturn laws limiting marriage and domestic-partner benefits to opposite-sex couples, and laws that prohibit homosexuals from serving as adoptive or foster parents. On its website, Lambda also pledges to fight abstinence-only sex-education programs in schools and to sponsor training workshops to inform homosexuals "about their new legal rights and how to exercise them."

The U.S. military's policy of excluding open homosexuals is also under fresh attack. C. Dixon Osburn, director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, says that Lawrence "changes the landscape significantly" from when courts upheld the policy in the past.

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During a trial in Ohio Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati for pandering obscenity, attorney H. Louis Sirkin argued on July 22 that Lawrence created not only a right to own, but also to sell, obscenity. Arguing that Ohio's obscenity law is unconstitutional, Mr. Sirkin argued that Lawrence means that "practically all choices made by consenting adults regarding their own sexual practices [are] a matter of personal liberty and thus beyond the reach of state control." The lawyer has also represented Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt and last year persuaded the Supreme Court to strike down the Child Pornography Protection Act.

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