Court Battles

Texas AG says he would back law banning sodomy if Supreme Court reconsiders landmark case

Greg Nash

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said last week he would back a law banning the act of sodomy if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overrule a case deeming it unconstitutional.

Paxton said during a Friday interview with NewsNation he would defend the law banning sodomy because the Supreme Court in the past has “stepped into issues that I don’t think there was any constitutional provision dealing with.”

“They were legislative issues,” Paxton said. “This was one of those issues, and there may be more. It would depend on the issue and it would depend on the state law.”

When asked if he would have a personal issue with defending a law banning sodomy, Paxton said he would not.

“My job is to defend state law and I’ll continue to do that, that is my job,” the Texas attorney general said.

The Supreme Court ruled a Texas law banning two persons of the same sex from having sexual intercourse was unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas (2003).

The justices said the law violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects an individual’s right to life and liberty without interference from the government.

The 2003 ruling overturned Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), which allowed a similar Georgia statue banning sodomy to stay in effect. The landmark Lawrence v. Texas case eventually paved the way for Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which legalized same-sex marriage.

Last week, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade (1971), which ruled that abortion was a constitutional right based on the Due Process Clause.

In his concurring opinion, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas drew national headlines when he suggested the court reconsider other cases based on the Due Process Clause, including Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges.

Paxton on Friday said he would have to “take a look” at any statute Texas were to pass if the high court overturned Lawrence v. Texas.

“This is all new territory for us. I’d have to see how the legislation was laid out and if we thought we could defend it,” Paxton said. “If it’s constitutional, we’re going to defend it.”

Tags Attorney general Clarence Thomas Ken Paxton Ken Paxton Lawrence v. Texas LGBTQ rights right to privacy Sodomy Supreme Court Supreme Court Texas Texas
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