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Equality and Liberty in the Golden Age of State Constitutional Law$
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Jeffrey M. Shaman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195334340

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195334340.001.0001

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The Right of Intimate Association

The Right of Intimate Association

(p.211) 7 The Right of Intimate Association
Equality and Liberty in the Golden Age of State Constitutional Law

Jeffrey M. Shaman

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses laws regulating sexual relations between consenting adults (married or not) and laws regulating gay and lesbian sexual relations. At one time, all of the states adopted criminal laws forbidding sodomy and many states also criminally prohibited fornication and adultery. In modern times, state courts began to rule that these criminal laws were unconstitutional. These decisions were part of a growing recognition that an individual's sex life was a private matter that simply was no business of the government. In 1992, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that a statute making it a crime to engage in sexual relations with a person of the same sex violated the rights of individual liberty and equal treatment guaranteed by the state constitution. Several other state courts rendered similar decisions, eventually leading the United States Supreme Court to follow suit and overrule its previous decision to the contrary.

Keywords:   sodomy, fornication, adultery, gay and lesbian sexual relations

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