Religious‐Right Group ‘Texas Values’ Desperately Defends Sodomy Law, Anti‐Gay Discrimination

by Dan Quinn

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Texas sodomy law unconstitutional in 2003, but Texas Values ‐‐ the Austin lobby arm of the religious‐right group Liberty Institute ‐‐ apparently still wants gay and lesbian couples to be thrown in prison. In an email to activists Friday, the group characterizes efforts to take the state’s sodomy law off the books as “undermin(ing) our foundational values.” And the extremist group is attacking any Republican who supports that repeal or other measures that treat gay and lesbian Texans with the same rights and dignity as everybody else.

The email ominously asks whether Texas Republican are “supporting the homosexual agenda” and goes on to attack state Rep. Sarah Davis, R‐Houston, for supporting equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans. It then warns that “two priority bills of the homosexual lobby , SB 1316 and SB 538, have both been passed out of committee in the Senate.” SB 538 would repeal the state’s sodomy law, which remains on the books despite the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling against it a decade ago. SB 1316 would treat the relationships of gay and lesbian teens the same as those of heterosexual teens. Under current Texas law, a gay teen who has consensual sex with a younger teen could be imprisoned for a felony offense. That’s not the case for heterosexual teens who are over 14 and within 3 years in age.

The sneering email from Texas Values continues:

“With the media continuing to push their agenda and ‘evolved’ politicians continuing to undermine our foundational values, it is becoming even more important for Texans to remind their elected officials why they serve and who they are accountable to.”

How extreme is Texas Values? While polls now suggest that a majority of Americans support marriage equality for gay and lesbian families, Texas Values wants to turn the clock back and criminalize the relationships of same‐sex couples. Much like the old segregationist George Wallace, the extremists at Texas Values are shouting: “Discrimination now! Discrimination tomorrow! Discrimination forever!” But even Wallace eventually acknowledged that he had been horribly wrong.