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Bowers v. Hardwick

Significance, Powell's Swing Vote Changes The Outcome, Domestic Partnership Laws, Further Readings


Michael J. Bowers, Attorney General of Georgia


Michael Hardwick

Appellant's Claim

That a state statute making sodomy a criminal offense does not violate the constitutionally protected right to privacy.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Michael E. Hobs

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Laurence Tribe

Justices for the Court

Warren E. Burger, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, Byron R. White (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

30 June 1986


The Supreme Court upheld the Georgia law, reasoning that there is no fundamental right granted to homosexuals to engage in consensual sodomy.

Related Cases

  • Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965).
  • Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).


Model Domestic Partnership, http://www.aclu.org/issues/gay/dpmodel.html.

The National Journal of Sexual Orientation Law, http://sunsite.unc.edu/gaylaw/issue1/becker.html. New York Times, 1 August 1993.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988