Bowers V. Hardwick: The Background
The case of Bowers v. Hardwick is very interesting. It all started when Mr. Hardwick was returning home after a night of drinking at a nearby bar. Mr. Hardwick was ultimately arrested for engaging in consensual love with another adult male. When arrested, the Georgia police officers claimed he had violated restrictions within the state’s Sodomy Law.
The statutes within the state’s Sodomy Law stated that any sexual activity undertaken between two individuals of the same SEX. Men were not allowed to be sexual with other men and women were not allowed to be sexual with other women in the state.
Mr. Hardwick appealed his arrest, claiming that the law violates his constitutional rights.
Bowers V. Hardwick: The Trial
Mr. Hardwick was accused of illegally showing love for an individual of the same sex. Mr. Hardwick rejected these charges by claiming the law violated the Equality Clause, represented in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The date of Bowers—who was the Georgia State prosecutor—v. Hardwick took place on March 31st of 1986.
Hardwick was initially arrested and sentenced to jail for being intimate with another male. The case was upheld by the state courts and Mr. Hardwick was sent to jail. Angered by this court ruling, Mr. Hardwick appealed the decision and took his claim to the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Hardwick felt violated. The United States Constitution stated that all men were created equal; Mr. Hardwick felt that he should not be punished for being himself.
Bowers v. Hardwick: the Verdict
The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Georgia, stating that the 14th Amendment should be applied to activities and events that did not exist in direct contrast to the traditional values expressed. The Supreme Court also stated that statutes addressing sodomy did not exist within the 14th Amendment.
The 14th Amendment prohibits the United States government from infringing on the rights for a citizen of the United States to pursue “life, liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”