States aren't allowed to make gay sexual relationships illegal anymore, but this has only been true since the Supreme Court handed down Lawrence v. Texas in 2003. Before that, states were free to make gay sex illegal. Like, sex between consenting adults. If you're under age 25 or so, the recency may be a little jarring to you. By 2003, most states weren't actually enforcing these laws very often, but they were still sometimes on the books.
So you'd think that when a Supreme Court case was handed down, the state would take the unconstitutional law off the books, right?
Ah, no. At least not for gay peeps, and at least not in Texas. As a recent article in the Texas Tribune pointed out, the law prohibiting same-sex sexual contact of basically any type is still on the books. This means that someone could still be arrested for doing fun gay things--and indeed, it's come close to happening before. The charge would be dropped, and no conviction for violation of an unconstitutional penal code provision would stand up in court. But still, why is this law still on the books?
Basically, Texas legislators won't take it off. They know it's unconstitutional. They know it can't be enforced. But keeping it there is like getting to punch queer Texans in the gut. It's an official expression of the belief that homosexuality is wrong and bad and immoral and deserves to be punished. This is completely insane behavior on the part of the Texas state legislature. Completely. Insane.
If you want to learn more about Lawrence v. Texas case and the bizarre story behind it, check out this very entertaining podcast from Radiolab's More Perfect. And for Pete's sake, if you live in Texas, call your legislator and ask to have this offensive, horrible law taken off the books for good.
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