Sexual Morality and the Constitution: People V. Onofre
Albany Law Review, Vol. 46, No. 311, 1982
52 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2010
Date Written: 1982
The New York Court of Appeals decision in People v. Onofre, 51 N.Y.2d 476 (1980), addressed the issue of prohibitions on private consensual, sodomatic conduct, both hetro- and homosexual. The Court of Appeals made history because it was the first judicial victory for advocates of sexual freedom for homosexuals in a case where homosexual acts were directly at issue.
This article examines the doctrinal origins of the New York Court of Appeals’ concepts of sexual privacy, equal protection and substantive due process. It also reexamines the Supreme Court’s pronouncements on sexual privacy. The article argues that the Supreme Court precedent was incorrectly interpreted and confused jurisprudential theory with constitutional mandate. However, it further states that the result in Onofre could have been the same even if its inclusion of freedom of sexual expression within the federal constitutional right of privacy.
Keywords: sexual privacy, equal protection and substantive due process
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