In the case of Bowers v. Hardwick (478 U.S 186 (1986)), Hardwick was arrested and
charged with homosexual sodomy. He challenged the law on the basis of the Due
Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
The US Supreme Court upheld
the law, saying that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment is only applicable
to the States if it protects a fundamental right, and that sodomy was not fundamental.
See Duncan v. Louisiana (391 U.S. 145 (1968)).
Hardwick probably did not make
the proper legal argument. He should have argued that the law was
unconstitutional based on the Equal Protection Clause. Since the law disproportionately affected
Later, in Lawrence v.
Texas (539 U.S. 558 (2003)),
Lawrence argued against a similar sodomy law with an Equal Protection
Clause and won.