Another same-sex marriage ban bite the deep red dust of Texas.
Greg Abbot, current AG and leading contender to be the TX GOP candidate for Governor, promises to appeal, claiming that states have the right to define marriage any way they want to. His likely opposition in the governor’s race, state legislator Wendy Davis, also an attorney, supports same sex marriage, even before the ban was overturned.
It is worth mentioning here that Texas AG Abbott is a paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair by an accident some years ago, and that he has an adopted daughter. In 2001, during the time Jesse Ventura served as governor of this fine state, our sodomy laws were struck down by Minnesota State District Court Judge Delia Pierce.
One of the parties involved in that suit, under anonymity for privacy reasons as John Doe in Doe, et al v. Jesse Ventura, et al, who sought to have the sodomy law overturned, did so on the basis of being a quadriplegic who could only enjoy oral sexual intimacy in his marriage. That poses the question – does AG Abbott support sodomy laws, as did for example, former VA AG Ken ‘the Cooch’ Cuccinelli?
From GLPAN.org. :
“This is a tremendous victory — because of what sodomy laws do, but also because of what they say,” said Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU Lesbian & Gay Rights Project, which along with the ACLU’s Minnesota state affiliate last summer filed Doe, et al. v. Jesse Ventura, et al., a lawsuit challenging the sodomy statute. “A society’s laws are its core statement of right and wrong. Sodomy laws, because they are understood to primarily apply to lesbians and gay men, marginalize gay people and their pursuit of equal citizenship.”
State District Court Judge Delila F. Pierce struck the law down, saying that the court “declares [the sodomy statute] to be unconstitutional, as applied to private, consensual, non-commercial acts of sodomy by consenting adults, because it violates the right of privacy guaranteed by the Minnesota Constitution.”
Minnesota’s sodomy law, which has been on the books since the 1800s, prohibits both oral and anal sex between any adults. Penalties include up to a year in jail and up to $3,000 in fines. In recent years, the law has been directly enforced and also has been indirectly used to deny opportunities, especially to lesbians and gay men in employment, child custody and other areas. For years, efforts to repeal the law in the state legislature were unsuccessful. Right-wing groups unsuccessfully tried to alter the law in recent years, so it would not apply to married, straight couples.
Pierce’s decision striking down the sodomy law noted that the plaintiffs in the case “represent a cross section of Minnesotans impacted by the sodomy statute.” The ruling should prevent the law from being enforced or invoked anywhere in Minnesota, according to Leslie Cooper, the ACLU Lesbian & Gay Rights Project staff attorney handling the case.
But the ACLU is asking the court to technically certify the case as a class-action, which Cooper said will leave “absolutely no question” that the sodomy law cannot be enforced directly or indirectly. At the end of May, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura’s administration may file legal papers opposing this, and a hearing would be held June 7.
“It’s unfathomable that the Ventura Administration would want the court to limit this ruling,” Cooper said. “The sodomy law has been declared unconstitutional — and the state has no good reason to say that it should be unconstitutional for some people, but not everyone.”
The ACLU’s clients in the case are state citizens whose jobs, homes and relationships with their children were threatened by the sodomy law, including, a quadriplegic married man who lives in Minneapolis, identified for privacy reasons only as “John Doe.” Because of his disability, the only forms of intimacy he is capable of engaging in with his wife were among those criminalized under the sodomy statute. bold and italics are my emphasis added – DG
Of course, with the federal overturning of bans on mixed racial marriage, it is clear that states DO NOT have the right to violate the constitutional claims to equality of anyone, or to unduly intrude on the definition of marriage where the state has no clear and compelling interest to do so.
Texas is the latest state to have a gay marriage ban overturned, following Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia.
I’m betting by the end of the year, and possibly sooner — by the time election day rolls around — that all states and territories will have had their same sex marriage laws and amendments overturned. And another one down, and another one down…….another one bites the dust. Besides dust, it will be interesting to see how much hypocrisy this kicks up.