Supreme Court Ruling, June 26, 2003
Lawrence v Texas, overturning the sodomy laws nationwide

I was very blessed to have been present at the Press Conference in Houston announcing
the victory, and also at the Rally that same day, and I recorded both events with my
mini-disc recorder. So, I'm honored to share them with you, as well as some photos
taken at the Rally and at the Pride Parade on June 28th.


At the Rally, above Houston City Council Person Annise Parker at the podium. Second shot, seated behind her some of the other speakers, from left, Dr. Clark Chamberlain, Sue Null, Sue Lovell, Debra Danburg, Tyron Garner, John Lawrence. Standing behind them, John Nechman, Garnett Coleman, Mitchell Katine. In photo at right, group to the right is comprised of Linda Morales, Clarence Bagby, Anise Parker, Janine Brunjes, Brian Chase and Deborah Bell.

   

Above, lawyer Mitchell Katine at the podium,
and below, Ray Hill addresses the crowd



 

Tyron Garner, John Lawrence and Mitchell Katine at the Press Conference

*****

click to hear the edition of
This Way Out covering the story

 

 

Above right Mitchell introduces Tyron and John to the Rally. Below, part of Rally crowd.

All photos above by JD Doyle

Below, two days later at the Parade, JD, John Lawrence, Mitchell Katine and Tyron Garner

Below, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner in the 2004 Pride Parade

September 2009. A friend asked me to reflect and to tell him about some gay
experience of mine. A lot of things flashed through my mind…think about my "gay experience."

Gee, I've been Out in a big way for 30 years. I was a year out of the closet and became
editor of a gay newspaper (in Norfolk); I went to the first three Marches on Washington;
I've been doing radio for years.....But I think I've settled on what I consider the huge gift
I received on June 26th, 2003.

That was the day the Supreme Court ruling came down on "Lawrence vs Texas," and
overturning the sodomy laws for the whole country. The case started in Houston when
John Lawrence and Tyron Garner were arrested years earlier, and it took many years
to get through the courts to the final step. As one of the hosts for the radio show
Queer Voices and also a music contributor to This Way Out, it kind of by default fell
to me to try to do some coverage of the story for This Way Out, as I was their only local source.

Now I am NOT a news reporter, I just do music segments and some interviews, but I
was there. We knew something was in the wind and the decision might come down
that day, though we did not know which way. But the Queer Voices producer called
me at work that morning and my boss let me leave work to make the press conference,
held around 1pm, bringing with me my mp3 recorder. The room was at the community
center, no larger than about 25 by 25 feet so it filled up quickly with reporters, TV
cameras, activists, etc. I boldly walked over to the podium just before it started and
placed my small recorder alongside the hugely more sophisticated microphones, etc, and
switched it on. And the Word came down, on our side, a tremendous victory with effects
reaching further than could be imagined, perhaps the biggest moment in gay history since
Stonewall. And events had somehow conspired for me to be there, in person, to witness it,
and to get it on my recorder. I considered my being there a huge gift to me and I am still
awed by the experience.

           Postscript:

Sadly, Tyron Garner passed away on 9/11/06, age 39,
and John Lawrence passed on 11/20/11, age 68


Below, this is THE read on the subject, and it's fascinating

"Flagrant Conduct" by Dale Carpenter

And, I'm very pleased that in the paperback edition Dale acknowledged that
I was the source of the digital recording of the press conference he quoted.

I'm repeating the photo above to show a very cool comparsion shot done by a friend of mine,
Brandon Wolfe, taken at a rally the day of the 2013 SCOTUS results, exactly ten years later.