Texas (TexasTribune) – The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that a ban on “homosexual conduct” — the act of sex between members of the same sex — was unconstitutional. So why is it still on the books?
Hey, Texplainer: Why does Texas criminal law still ban “homosexual conduct”?
In 1973, Texas made homosexual conduct a criminal act. People caught in the crime could be fined up to several thousand dollars and face jail time. Three decades later, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law in Lawrence v. Texas— a landmark civil rights case. The ruling invalidated similar sodomy bans in 13 other states.
This legislative session, Democratic lawmakers are trying to repeal the language — as they have in previous sessions. A related bill is scheduled to be discussed Monday in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Such a bill has never made it out of committee, according to the Texas Observer.
Bottom line: The ban on “homosexual conduct” is unconstitutional and unenforceable. But prior attempts to strike the language from the state’s criminal law have failed.