(Houston, Texas) The district attorney who defended the Texas law criminalizing homosexuality before the US Supreme Court is desperately trying to keep his job following the discovery of e-mails containing sexually explicit videos, racist jokes and what is described as torrid love notes to his executive secretary.
Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal (R) is facing a state investigation into the emails which were discovered on his office computer.
If he is found in violation of "official misconduct'' he could be removed from office. The office computer also contained evidence he had used it for political purposes.
Rosenthal who is married and portrayed himself as a "family values" candidate ended his re-election campaign last week after the sexy emails to his secretary were discovered. His current term runs out at the end of 2008.
The e-mails were found during discovery in a federal civil rights lawsuit. The plaintiffs in the case forced Rosenthal into a deposition where he was required to answer questions about the e-mails under oath.
But in 2002 it was "family values" Rosenthal who argued before the US Supreme Court that the Texas law against sodomy was upholding the moral values of the state and was in place to protect families. The case was Lawrence v Texas.
In his arguments he condemned adultery and homosexual acts.
"I think that this Court having determined that there are certain kinds of conduct that it will accept and certain kinds of conduct it will not accept may draw the line at the bedroom door of the heterosexual married couple because of the interest that this Court has that this Nation has and certainly that the State of Texas has for the preservation of marriage, families and the procreation of children," Rosenthal told the justices.
"Even if you infer that various States acting through their legislative process have repealed sodomy laws, there is no protected right to engage in extrasexual - extramarital sexual relations, again, that can trace their roots to history or the traditions of this nation."
In the end the Supreme Court overturned the sodomy law, releasing its opinion in June of 2003.
In a 6 - 3 decision, the court said that states cannot make laws regarding the private sexual conduct of Americans.
The ruling said the Texas law violates the Due Process clause of the Constitution. Writing for the majority Justice Anthony M. Kennedy called the ban on gay sex an "unconstitutional violation of privacy."
"[It} demeans the lives of homosexual persons," Kennedy wrote.
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.
The ruling negated not only the sodomy law in Texas, but those in a dozen other states.