Last edited: December 18, 2004

Resolution Calls for Repeal of Sodomy Law

Decision Seeks to Lift Ban on Gay Sex Acts

Daily Texan, January 15, 2003
P.O. Box D, Austin, TX 78713

By Lauren Reinlie, Daily Texan Staff

Student Government voted Tuesday in a 33-1 decision to call for the Texas State Legislature to repeal the Homosexual Conduct Law.

The resolution, authored by Bobby Apperson, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally Affairs Agency SG representative, calls for the repeal of Section 21.06 of the Texas Penal Code which makes acts of anal and oral sex illegal for same sex partners in Texas.

The resolution calls for the University to continue to refrain from using section 21.06 to discriminate against Texans. It also recommends that UT Medical Branch in Galveston should not deny condoms or dental dams to inmates.

Apperson said University Health Services provides safe sex information for same sex and bisexual people, which is technically a violation of the law.

"UHS and any publicly funded health centers could have their materials confiscated in the eyes of the current law," Apperson said. "UHS would be no different if they were distributing information on how to grow marijuana. They are still doing something illegal."

Apperson said 21.06 is used to discriminate against homosexuals because they are considered criminals under Texas law. He said this law is personally affecting him as he begins to apply for jobs.

"I am having to draft two types of resumes," Apperson said. "One is my big gay resumé, and one will have to be toned down because you can be considered a criminal if it is found out that you are gay. The statute is used to make people second class citizens."

Chris Vaca, two-year at-large SG representative, spoke to the assembly about how Section 21.06 affects the student body. He said he was contacted by five professors last semester who were interested in teaching at the University, but rescinded after it was disclosed that the University does not provide domestic partner benefits in part due to Section 21.06.

The resolution states that 35 states and Washington, D.C., have repealed their sodomy laws altogether, and Texas is one of four states where the sodomy laws apply only to homosexuals.

The resolution also states that the statute is used as justification to deny gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals equal access to housing, adoption, employment, health care and education throughout Texas, including housing and health care at the University.

The United States Supreme Court is currently awaiting a hearing on Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, which challenges Section 21.06. Apperson said it is important for the legislation to know that their constituents do not expect the law makers to wait for the Supreme Court decision, which could take years, but instead want section 21.06 to be repealed now.

Apperson plans to hand deliver the resolution to legislators at the Texas State Capitol as well as forward the resolution to President Bush.

Thomas Beard, RTF junior who attended the meeting and spoke during open forum, said he hopes the resolution will serve as a message to Texas legislators.

"I think if any of the legislators listen to their constituency, they should respond to UT students—a group of over 50,000 students from all over the state," he said.

No one spoke in opposition to the resolution at the meeting.

Ashley Rosenthal, a liberal arts representative and the lone dissenter, said she did not have enough information about Section 21.06 to vote for the bill and did not want to abstain.

The resolution was presented at the Dec. 3 SG meeting, which Rosenthal said she had to leave early for academic reasons and therefore did not have time to research the resolution.

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