Stover v. State of Georgia

30 S.E.2d 577
Brief Filed: 11/86
Court: Supreme Court of Georgia
Year of Decision: 1986

Read the full-text amicus brief (PDF, 347KB)

Issue

Whether a state anti-sodomy law criminally prohibiting oral sex was constitutional

Index Topic

Sexual Orientation (anti-sodomy law)

Facts

A heterosexual man who admitted to engaging in consensual oral sex with a woman appealed a state court conviction for violation of the state anti-sodomy law. A company called PHE Inc. — which publishes a newsletter edited by sex therapists called "Sex Over 40" — hired Ennis, Friedman & Bersoff to submit an amicus brief on its behalf and on behalf of Georgia professionals who routinely recommend oral sex to their patients in sex therapy.

APA's Position

APA was asked to participate as an amici on the PHE brief. At the time of this offer, the case had already been briefed and argued, but the decision had not yet been rendered. APA joined the PHE brief arguing that: (1) oral sex is common and not psychologically harmful; (2) the freedom to express intimacy through oral sex is important to the psychological health of individuals and intimate human relationships and therefore, the statute infringed upon the fundamental privacy interests of individuals; and (3) the statute was counterproductive to public health goals and detrimental to individual mental health.

Results

The Georgia Supreme Court did not rule on the principal issue raised by the amicus brief, namely, whether the Constitution protects the right of individuals to engage in heterosexual sodomy. Rather, the court ruled that Stover's conduct occurred in public, and therefore was not protected by the right to privacy.