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Texas Senate committee votes to repeal state’s anti-gay sodomy law

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas — The Senate Criminal Justice Committee voted on Wednesday to repeal the state’s anti-gay sodomy law, a decade after the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional.

Texas, along with Oklahoma and Kansas, will be the only states that still have the law on the books after Montana’s legislature approved its repeal of the measure and the governor pledged to sign it.

Jose Rodriguez

Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso), authored the bill and said the state was long overdue in taking the measure off the books and that it created confusion among law enforcement.

“This defunct law was the grounds for police to harass patrons of restaurants in my district resulting in a suit against the city of El Paso,” he said, describing a 2009 incident where police arrested a same-sex couple for kissing. “Not only is the continued existence of this law on the books a source of misinformation to law enforcement, but in my own district local governments have been forced to spend their limited resources due to this misuse.”

Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston), said he tried to get the law repealed in 1993, but conservatives in the Texas House blocked the attempt.

“All you’re doing is following court rulings and taking unconstitutional language off the books,” he said.

The State Bar of Texas, the American Civil Liberties Union and the pro-gay rights group Equality Texas supported the bill. No one registered with the committee to oppose it and it passed 5-0. The bill was sent to the full Senate for a vote.

The Legislature outlawed homosexual activity in 1973, but when a Houston man was charged with sodomy he appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court declared the law unconstitutional in a landmark ruling that overturned all of the nation’s sodomy laws.

Democrats have also proposed a new law that would make discriminating against gays for employment illegal, but that measure is unlikely to pass due to conserva tive opposition.

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22 more reader comments:

  1. Huzzah!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 6:54am
  2. Good for him. I’m surprised at least that hasn’t been done already in every state in the U.S.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 10:10am
  3. Idiot alert!!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 11:07am
  4. why do you say that? this is a good thing. Or are you referring to yourself?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 1:07pm
  5. ummm finding too many gay politicians down there that don’t want to get arrested for sodomy?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:49pm
  6. Didn’t they do that with Lawrence back in ’03?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:50pm
  7. Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:50pm
  8. It still has to go to the courts and they will strike it down

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:51pm
  9. Already nullified by the Supreme Court.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:52pm
  10. Complete waste of time given the Supreme Court has struck down Sodomy laws already.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:52pm
  11. Yup so who cares its texas

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:53pm
  12. About time ….. All those heteros likin’ it & all

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:56pm
  13. good of texas to keep up.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:03pm
  14. even if they can’t be enforced, keeping those laws on the books in TX, KS and OK is their way of holding on to bigotry and continuing to marginalize gay people. it’s not a waste of time to get these off the books once and for all.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:06pm
  15. can’t we give Texas back to Mexico?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:09pm
  16. Please Texas: Stand up for rea lequality for all and legalize gay and lesbian marriage rights and show us that Texas is going to protect all her people again. This sodomy law casts a dark shadow and stands in defiance of 14th Amendment equal protection law. I left Texas after my home was burned down in Austin and pets killed by haters in the early 80′s. NZ took me in, and today I’m shedding tears of joy for a nation that believes in equality and practices it.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:11pm
  17. Good to know there is one political party that wants to protect civil liberties instead of deny them.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:57pm
  18. Better late than never. It was a dead law on the Texas books

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 5:57pm
  19. Amazing! Texas is STILL running 10 years (or more) behind the times!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 6:13pm
  20. Old school just cannot get that they are dying…

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 6:35pm
  21. PRO PHOTO AND VIDEO FOR LGBTQ’s NEEDS.
    Check http://www.ILLYRICUMEDIA.COM

    Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 8:02pm
  22. Doesn’t really matter as the Supreme Court ruled sodomy laws unconstitutional a couple years ago.

    Posted on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 8:45am