Daniel Allender


The Supreme Court's decision striking down a Texas statute prohibiting homosexual conduct in Lawrence v. Texas is vague in many ways. The opinion failed to articulate both the contours of the right the Court was recognizing and the level of scrutiny courts should apply when enforcing the right. When a question concerning the rights of minors arises under Lawrence, the answer is even more obscure. The Supreme Court of North Carolina faced precisely this question in a 2007 decision, in which the court considered whether Lawrence prohibited the state from prosecuting a minor for engaging in nontraditional sexual activity when the minor legally could have engaged in traditional, vaginal intercourse. This Note argues for an extension of Lawrence's right to sexual privacy to minors when those minors may otherwise lawfully consent to sexual activity. Lawrence held the state may only infringe an adult's right to sexual privacy when the state has some interest other than moral aversion to the sexual act itself. The Supreme Court has also held that minors generally share an adult's right to privacy unless the state has a significant interest unique to the context of minors to justify the infringement. Because the state has no interest other than moral aversion when regulating the form of a minor's sexual activity, this Note argues Lawrence should also protect minors.

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