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A Houston neighbor of John Geddes Lawrence complained to the Harris County sheriff's office that a suspicious black man had entered Lawrence's apartment. Jumping to the conclusion that the man was a burglar, the sheriffs office swiftly dispatched a team of police to Lawrence's apartment. The officers entered the apartment, where they found Lawrence and Tyron Garner, the alleged "burglar," engaged in consensual anal sex. The shocked officers arrested the couple, humiliated them, and jailed them for twenty-four hours. By these petty actions, Harris County handed Lambda Legal Education and Defense Fund the case everyone supporting gay rights had been waiting for the application of a state sodomy law to intercourse by consenting adults within the home.

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