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Rep. Jessica Farrar Files HB 1701 to Repeal Unconstitutional Sodomy Statute

by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 08:30 AM CST

Texas State Representative Jessica Farrar of Houston (D-148) has filed HB 1701 to repeal §21.06 of the Texas Penal Code, which still lists "homosexual conduct" as a misdemeanor crime. Although this was ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in its 2003 decision, Lawrence v. Texas, the state of Texas has refused to remove §21.06 from the books.

In addition to repealing §21.06 from the books, HB 1701 would also remove from the Texas Health and Safety Code the statement, "homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense under Section 21.06, Penal Code."

The Supreme Court has made the statute unenforceable and unconstitutional, leaving pure moral spite as the only reason to oppose this legislation.

"There is absolutely no justification for this antiquated and unconstitutional provision to remain on the books," said Chuck Smith, Executive Director at Equality Texas. "It is past time for this relic of the past to be repealed from the Texas Penal Code," Smith said.

HB 1701 is identical to its Senate companion bill, SB 538, which was filed on February 13th by State Senator José Rodriguez of El Paso. SB 538 has been referred to the Senate Committee on State Affairs.


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