Since last week’s US Supreme Court ruling on abortion resulted in several states implementing bans and with more states set to follow suit, fears have been growing that other hard-won freedoms may be next in line. These fears appear not be be unfounded, with the attorney-general of Texas, Ben Paxton, saying that he would recriminalise sex between men should the Supreme Court overturn their 2003 decision to declare sex between consenting adult men a constitutional right.
Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas, one of the driving forces behind the removal of the constitutional right to abortion, has already expressed the opinion that key cases conferring the right to same-sex relationships, same-sex marriage and contraception (yes, really, we had to double-check this) should be looked at, writing, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell”, referring to the names of the plaintiffs in the original cases.
In an interview on Texas radio station WBAP, Paxton was asked whether he would seek to ban same-sex intimacy should the Supreme Court reverse their 2003 ruling. He told host Chris Krok: “My job is to defend state law and I’ll continue to do that. That is my job under the constitution and I’m certainly willing and able to do that.”
A ban on sex between men remains on the books in Texas and several other states, but has been in abeyance since 2003 when the Supreme Court ruled that the legislation was unconstitutional. However, should the court overturn their earlier decision, Paxton’s comments confirm that the Texas ban would regain supremacy. The Texas law prohibits “deviant sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex”.
Democrat Rochelle Garza, who is standing against Paxton for election in November, tweeted that “they won’t stop till they roll back all of our civil rights.”
Attorney-General Paxton has repeatedly voiced his opposition to same-sex marriage and transgender rights, and was a vociferous opponent of Covid-19 restrictions.