Last edited: December 19, 2004

What Does This Law Accomplish?

Galveston Daily News, December 3, 2002
Box 628, Galveston, TX 77553
Fax: 409-740-3421

By Heber Taylor, The Daily News

A state shouldn’t have the right to punish you for having consensual sex in the privacy of your home.

That should be true even in Texas. And it should be true regardless of whether you are heterosexual or homosexual.

It’s not.

Texas is one of 13 states with a sodomy law. Texas’ law makes sodomy illegal only for homosexuals. Sodomy between heterosexuals is legal.

It’s hard to imagine a more blatant example of gratuitous intrusion of government in private life.

What does a law like this accomplish? Does anyone suppose it prevents a kind of behavior?

Is there a public interest in preventing that behavior, or are we just doing that because many people—perhaps a majority—find it offensive?

And if that’s the standard, are we going to prohibit private behaviors that a majority of us find offensive?

Are we going to make it illegal to join religious groups that most the rest of us would consider an offensive cult instead of a "true" religion? Are we going to let the majority decide what is true and persecute everyone else?

What about other types of offensive, private behaviors? Should we pass laws making it illegal for other people to watch TV shows that offend us? What about people who have hideous art collections or wretched taste in music?

Shall they be felonies or just misdemeanors?

While all of the sodomy laws are discriminatory, some are more discriminatory than others.

Some laws, like Texas’, specifically describe sexual conduct that is legal for heterosexual couples but illegal for homosexuals. How is that not discriminatory?

And does anyone think these laws are effective? Does anyone really think that these laws prevent people from having sex?


Police certainly don’t. Officers do not run around town looking for infractions. The law is so bad that it is enforced only in cases that border on farce.

Consider the case before the Supreme Court. Police respond to a false alarm, trying to protect people in an apartment from intruders. They find two people having sex. The very people the officers were sent to protect were instead taken to jail.

William Delmore III, the prosecutor who drew the unenviable position of trying to argue for this idiotic law, said the remedy should be the Texas Legislature, not the courts.

That’s just not a very good argument.

Because gay bashing can still win votes in Texas, legislators made homosexual sex a crime 28 years ago.

Legislatures are supposed to reflect the will of the majority. Courts are supposed to protect the rights of the individual from being trampled by the majority.

That’s what the Supreme Court should do.

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