In 1998, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner were arrested in Lawrence’s Houston home and jailed overnight, after officers responding to a false report found the men having sex. The two men were convicted of violating Texas’s “Homosexual Conduct” law, which made it a crime for two people of the same sex to have oral or anal sex, even though those sex acts were legal in Texas for people to engage in with persons of a different sex. Lambda Legal quickly responded to represent Lawrence and Garner. Battling for years in the Texas courts, the firm sought to overturn the criminal convictions (which made the two men registrable “sex offenders” in several states) and to have Texas’s law declared unconstitutional. When the highest court in Texas eventually refused to even hear Lambda Legal's arguments, they convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case. In a stunning victory, the highest court in the land found the “Homosexual Conduct” law unconstitutional and established, for the first time, that lesbians and gay men share the same fundamental liberty right to private sexual intimacy with another adult that heterosexuals have.
OVERRULED! was screened at Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival and at universities across the country.