The marriage right protects a right to state recognition. Those other rights protect against government interference. Justice O'Connor added a sixth vote to overturn the conviction, but rested her decision solely on the Equal Protection Clause. Introduction Two Supreme Court decisions involving gay rights, one decade apart, have left a lot of people wondering just where the law now stands with respect to the right to engage in homosexual conduct. In California, where the state legislature legalized same sex marriage only to have the voters overturn that law by initiative Amendment 8 , a federal district court found Amendment 8 to violate federal equal protection principles and the state chose not to appeal. There is some historical accuracy to that critique. In the column, I suggest that an affirmative right to marry is not necessarily ruled out by the Constitution's text and that it would hardly be disruptive. Although the Georgia law applied both to heterosexual and homosexual sodomy, the Supreme Court chose to consider only the constitutionality of applying the law to homosexual sodomy. Assuming that's correct, then denying the right to marry to everyone in a state would obviously be unconstitutional. Justice Scalia ridiculed the reasoning of the Court, indicating in a footnote that he would hold his head "in a bag" if he were compelled to join the majority's opinion. In , facing a circuit split, the Supreme Court resolved the question of whether state bans on gay marriage violated the Equal Protection and. The three that one finds in the Court's doctrine are voting, travel, and court access. Michael Hardwick, who sought to enjoin enforcement of the Georgia law, had been charged with sodomy after a police officer discovered him in bed with another man. There the Court invalidated a law that required the sterilization of "habitual criminals.