SB 538, a bill to repeal Texas's unconstitutional “homosexual conduct” aka sodomy law passed out of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee this afternoon on a 5-0 vote. Senator José Rodríguez of El Paso is carrying the bill.
SB 538 would repeal §21.06 of the Penal Code, the Homosexual Conduct Law, which was declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision. The bill would also amend the Health and Safety Code to delete the statement that “homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense under §21.06, Penal Code.”
SB 538 is the first legislation ever filed in the Texas Senate to repeal the unenforceable §21.06 of the Penal Code. Identical legislation has been filed in the Texas House this session (HB 1701 by Farrar & HB 3232 by Coleman) and in every session since the Lawrence v. Texas decision. Today's action is the first time the repeal legislation has ever been advanced by a Texas legislative committee subsequent to Lawrence v. Texas.
This and other LGBT legislation are being tracked as part of the 2013 Equality Texas Legislative Agenda.