Many conservatives reacted with fury to the sweeping decision, which may open the door to legalizing The ruling is expected to increase pressure on President Bush to fill the next high court vacancy with a solid conservativeConservative groups, spurred on by Justice Antonin Scalia's blistering dissent, predicted the ruling would lead to gay marriage — and worse.
"The implications for other sexual crimes is unmistakable," said Scott Lively, director of the Pro Family Law Center in Sacramento, which filed a brief supporting the Texas law. "If the state doesn't have even a legitimate interest in criminalizing sodomy ... how can the state continue to regulate against group sexual encounters, sadomasochism, sex between brothers and sisters, sex with animals and sex with corpses?"
Ruth Harlow, who argued the case before the Supreme Court as legal director of Lambda Legal, said the court was merely "catching up" with public opinion.
The Supreme Court was criticized by civil rights groups 17 years ago when it upheld Georgia's sodomy law. Georgians later repealed that law, and now, "82 percent of Americans have already expressed the view that these kinds of laws are inappropriate." she said.
Reaction was especially strong in those states with sodomy laws still on the books — Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.
"God have mercy on America," said John Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, who agreed with Justice Anthony Kennedy that personal privacy should be protected, but said he worries that the decision will further a national campaign to legalize marriage between gays.