Brigham Young University Prelaw Review


gay rights, Bowers v. Hardwick, Supreme Court


Rarely does the serving of a simple misdemeanor warrant result in a case tried before the highest court in the land, but this is what happened to Michael Hardwick in August, 1982. Police officers arriving at his house were let in by a houseguest who led the policemen to the bedroom. At this point they stumbled upon Hardwick engaged in a sexual act with another man, an act which, under Georgia Code 16-6-2, constituted sodomy and was thus punishable "by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than twenty years." Michael Hardwick was arrested and charged, the first such application of the statute in some fifty years (Mohr, 52-3). This event lead to a change in the fundamental focus of the gay rights movement and, most importantly, signaled a philosophical reversal in the agenda-setting of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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