Effort to repeal Texas sodomy law advances with bipartisan support | Texas

Texas lawmakers are edging closer to repealing the state’s sodomy ban, two decades after the law was ruled unconstitutional.

A state house committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to pass a bill that would repeal the 1973 law criminalising homosexual conduct, which has been unenforceable since it was deemed unconstitutional by the US supreme court in 2003.

The effort is spearheaded by Venton Jones, a Black gay Democrat from Dallas, who got the bill passed by the committee on criminal jurisprudence only after amending it to preserve current legislation that says “homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public”.

Jones, the state’s first openly HIV-positive lawmaker, said he was “proud” the bill had made it through to the next stage.

“Everyone in the state of Texas should be afforded equal treatment,” said Jones. “After 50 years, it is time to remove the language and do away with discrimination.”

The 1973 law criminalising gay sex, colloquially known as the Texas “sodomy ban”, made it a crime for anyone to engage in sexual acts such as oral or anal intercourse with another person of the same sex.

It has been unenforceable since the supreme court ruled it and similar laws in 12 other states unconstitutional.

Democrats have repeatedly tried to get the legislation off the statute book but the latest effort has for the first time attracted bipartisan support, including the rightwing US senator Ted Cruz.

Jones’s bill will now need to be scheduled for a vote. That did not happen in 2017, the last time such a bill was voted out of committee.

The bill is not without opposition. Two representatives associated with Texas Values, an ultra-conservative Christian advocacy group that opposes LGBTQ+ rights, spoke against the bill, citing opposition to removing sections of current law that recommend teaching children that homosexuality is unacceptable.

The vote also came in the same week the Texas senate passed bills banning gender-affirming medical treatments for minors, criminalising drag shows and other performances deemed inappropriate and blocking public funds to public libraries that host drag story hours for children.

Across the country, trans rights – among the rights of the wider LGBTQ+ community and women – have been under attack in many Republican-controlled states.

The most notorious such effort has been the Florida “don’t say gay” law, which curtails classroom discussion of gender identity and sexuality and which has triggered a spiraling public battle between the governor, Ron DeSantis, and Disney, the most powerful corporation in the state.

( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )

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