Respect Equality

Ted Cruz says Texas should repeal nonfunctioning law criminalizing gay sex

“Consenting adults should be able to do what they wish in their private sexual activity, and government has no business in their bedrooms.”

Story at a glance


  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would support a repeal of a Texas law banning sexual activity between individuals of the same sex, a spokesperson for the senator confirmed to Changing America in a statement first reported by the Dallas Morning News.

  • Texas is one of 14 states with sodomy bans still on the books. Those laws have been unenforceable since 2003, when the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that such bans are unconstitutional.

  • Cruz is not known for being an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. The senator last week said the Supreme Court was “clearly wrong” in its landmark 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has voiced support for repealing a decades-old Texas law that criminalizes sexual conduct between consenting adults of the same sex. 

In a statement to Changing America, a spokesperson for Cruz said the senator agreed with a 2003 opinion by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas that the state’s law against sodomy is “uncommonly silly.”

“Consenting adults should be able to do what they wish in their private sexual activity, and government has no business in their bedrooms,” the spokesperson said. The news was first reported by the Dallas Morning News

A section of Texas’ penal code passed in 1973 defines “homosexual conduct” as “deviate sexual intercourse” that constitutes a Class C misdemeanor, a fine-only offense punishable by a penalty of up to $500.


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The law has been unenforceable since 2003 when the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that criminal punishment for those who commit sodomy are unconstitutional.

Despite Justice Thomas’ earlier opinion, in a separate opinion following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last month, Thomas argued that the court should reconsider its substantive due process precedent in Lawrence, as well as in other landmark cases safeguarding access to contraceptives and the right of same-sex couples to marry.

In June, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said he would defend Texas’ sodomy ban.

“My job is to defend state law and I’ll continue to do that, that is my job,” he said in an interview with NewsNation. Texas is one of 14 states with sodomy bans still on the books.

Cruz’s position on the law is a shift from earlier comments made by the senator about LGBTQ+ rights. Last week, Cruz on his podcast “The Cloakroom,” which he hosts with conservative political commentator Liz Wheeler, said the Supreme Court was “clearly wrong” in its landmark 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

“Obergefell, like Roe v. Wade, ignored two centuries of our nation’s history,” Cruz said. “Marriage was always an issue that was left to the states.”

On a July 23 episode of his podcast, “The Verdict with Ted Cruz,” Cruz doubled down on his comments, telling co-host Michael Knowles that the Supreme Court “invented a brand new right” in a move that circumvented the democratic process.

“It’s what I believed then and every day since then,” he said. “It’s virtually what every conservative on the planet believed then and still believes now, even if there’s some Republicans scared to say it.”