LGBT leaders praise Garner for his courage
Tyron Garner, one of the two plaintiffs in the U.S. Su-preme Court case that led to sodomy laws across the nation being struck down, has died in Houston.
Mark Roy, a spokesman for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, said Garner was suffering from meningitis and had been in his brother’s care for six months. Garner died on Sept. 11.
Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal, said Garner should be remembered always by gay men and lesbians whose lives are better because of him.
“Because Tyron Garner and John Lawrence had the courage to challenge homophobic sodomy laws, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that love, sexuality and family play the same role in gay people’s lives as they do for everyone else,” Cathcart said. “That’s a colossal legacy and one for which his community will forever be thankful.”
Lambda Legal represented Garner and John Lawrence in the lawsuit “Lawrence and Garner v. Texas.”
Paul E. Scott, executive director of Equality Texas, said Garner fought a battle against overwhelming odds.
“Many of the greatest advancements in liberty and equality have occurred when unlikely advocates had the courage to fight for justice,” Scott said. “We honor his courage for publicly challenging Texas’ sodomy statute.”
The Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2003, that Texas’ homosexual conduct law was unconstitutional. The ruling struck down sodomy laws in 13 states that still had them.
The lawsuit against the state of Texas arose from the arrest of Tyron Garner and John Lawrence in their Harris County home near Houston. A sheriff’s deputy found the couple engaged in a sex act when he went to investigate an emergency call.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 15, 2006.