Last edited: February 14, 2005

Texas Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Strike Down Sodomy Law

The Advocate, January 23, 2001

A Texas lawmaker has introduced a bill that would strike down that state’s 100-year-old sodomy law, reports the Houston Chronicle. State representative Debra Danburg (D-Houston) recently introduced the measure, saying that the current law, which bans anal and oral sex between homosexuals, is archaic and unconstitutional. "It’s only used for the very thing a majority of Texans say they don’t support: discrimination," she said. Danburg has filed six separate bills attempting to dismantle the sodomy law during her legislative tenure. During the last two legislative sessions, the proposed measures never made it out of committee. A 1998 case stemming from the arrest of two adult males having consensual sex resulted in a June 2000 ruling by a three-judge panel of the 14th circuit U.S. court of appeals that the Texas sodomy law violates the state constitution’s Equal Rights Amendment by unfairly targeting gays. The case has been appealed and is currently pending before the full court of appeals; no hearing date has been set. "I think there’s a particular timeliness to bringing this up [in the legislature], given that ruling," said Dianne Hardy-Garcia, executive director of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby of Texas. "Debra’s the perfect person to carry it; she understands and has followed this legal battle and legislative battle for years." The state’s Republican Party strongly opposes revoking the sodomy law and even went so far as to add language to its state party platform vilifying the two Republican judges on the court of appeals panel who voted that the law is unconstitutional.

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