IN STRIKING DOWN the Texas law that made consensual sex in private between members of the same sex a criminal act, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, speaking for the majority of the Supreme Court, wrote that the Texas law “demeans the lives of homosexual persons … entitled to respect for their private lives.” By emphasizing the word “respect,” Justice Kennedy was not only upholding the right of privacy, he was asserting human dignity. For many, it is difficult to feel grateful. That the matter came up at all is disgraceful to every concept of human decency. For veterans of not-so-long-ago battles for equal rights, the decision will stir memories of outrages survived.
John Rechy’s latest novel, The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens, has just been published by Grove/Atlantic.