Here we go…
Mother Jones reports today that Ted Cruz defended a Texas law criminalizing the sale of dildos.
Chris Webb, left, and his wife, Joanne, leave the Johnson County Courthouse on Monday after a judge granted a delay in her pretrial hearing.
Joanne joined Passion Parties in 2003. She was proud to be a distributor for the company. A warrant was issued for her arrest on an obscenity charges in 2003.
Ted Cruz defended te ban on dildos in Texas in 2004.
Mother Jones reported:
Yet one case he does not mention is the time he helped defend a law criminalizing the sale of dildos.
The case was actually an important battle concerning privacy and free speech rights. In 2004, companies that owned Austin stores selling sex toys and a retail distributor of such products challenged a Texas law outlawing the sale and promotion of supposedly obscene devices. Under the law, a person who violated the statute could go to jail for up to two years. At the time, only three states—Mississippi, Alabama, and Virginia—had similar laws. (The previous year, a Texas mother who was a sales rep for Passion Parties was arrested by two undercover cops for selling vibrators and other sex-related goods at a gathering akin to a Tupperware party for sex toys. No doubt, this had worried businesses peddling such wares.) The plaintiffs in the sex-device case contended the state law violated the right to privacy under the 14th Amendment. They argued that many people in Texas used sexual devices as an aspect of their sexual experiences. They claimed that in some instances one partner in a couple might be physically unable to engage in intercourse or have a contagious disease (such as HIV) and that in these cases such devices could allow a couple to engage in safe sex.
But a federal judge sent them packing, ruling that selling sex toys was not protected by the Constitution. The plaintiffs appealed, and Cruz’s solicitor general office had the task of preserving the law.
In 2007, Cruz’s legal team, working on behalf of then-Attorney General Greg Abbott (who now is the governor), filed a 76-page brief calling on the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to uphold the lower court’s decision and permit the law to stand. The filing noted, “The Texas Penal Code prohibits the advertisement and sale of dildos, artificial vaginas, and other obscene devices” but does not “forbid the private use of such devices.” The plaintiffs had argued that this case was similar to Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark 2003 Supreme Court decision that struck down Texas’ law against sodomy. But Cruz’s office countered that Lawrence “focused on interpersonal relationships and the privacy of the home” and that the law being challenged did not block the “private use of obscene devices.” Cruz’s legal team asserted that “obscene devices do not implicate any liberty interest.” And its brief added that “any alleged right associated with obscene devices” is not “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.” In other words, Texans were free to use sex toys at home, but they did not have the right to buy them.