Sodomy Law is Still in Place In Texas a Decade After Supreme Court Ruling

Map of U.S. Sodomy Laws Repealed or Struck Down

Texas is among a dozen states that still have anti-sodomy laws on their books 10 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled they are unconstitutional in a case involving the Lone Star State.

Associated Press reported gay right groups in Louisiana are claiming police have used anti-sodomy laws to victimize gay men. However, lawmakers in the southern state sided with religious and conservative groups in refusing to repeal the law earlier this month.

Of 14 states that had anti-sodomy laws in the U.S., only Montana and Virginia repealed theirs since the Supreme Court ruling, stated Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the national gay rights organization Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights organization.

She pointed out in addition to Louisiana, anti-sodomy laws are still on the statute books in Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

These laws are still on the statute books even though the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 that it is unconstitutional to bar consensual sex between adults, calling it a violation of the 14th Amendment.

That has not stopped the laws being used in some states. AP reported in 2013, that police in East Baton Rouge Parish arrested gay men for “attempted crimes against nature” using the anti-sodomy law. The sting operation caused a national outcry. However, the district attorney refused to bring charges against the arrested men, saying the law was unenforceable.

In the case of Lawrence v. Texas, Houston police arrested two men who they found were engaged in a sexual act. They were charged and convicted under Texas law of “deviate sexual intercourse, namely anal sex, with a member of the same sex.” They challenged the statute as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court struck down Texas’ sodomy law. Moves to repeal Texas’ sodomy law 10 years after Lawrence v. Houston was reported in in 2013, but it remains in place for now.

As Dallas criminal defense attorneys we have represented and won acquittals for people charged with sex crimes in Texas.

Mick Mickelsen is a nationally recognized criminal trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience defending people charged with white-collar crimes, drug offenses, sex crimes, murder, and other serious state and federal offenses.