Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Toys for Texans

Another intrusive government attempt to legislate "decency" was shot down in Texas today.

From the Austin American Statesman

Court strikes down Texas ban on sex toys

A federal appeals court has struck down a Texas law that makes it a crime to promote or sell sex toys.

"Whatever one might think or believe about the use of these devices," said an opinion written by Justice Thomas M. Reavley of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, "government interference with their personal and private use violates the Constitution."

Under Texas law it is illegal to sell, advertise, give or lend obscene devices, defined as a device used primarily for sexual stimulation. Anyone in possession of six or more sexual devices is considered to be promoting them.

The Texas law dates back to the 1970s and is seldom enforced. Travis County prosecutors say that they haven't charged anyone with a sexual device-related crime in at least the past seven years, and probably much longer.

In 2003, a woman in the Fort Worth suburb of Burleson drew nationwide attention when she was arrested for selling erotic toys at a Tupperware-type party. The charges against Joanne Webb were later dropped.

In addition to Texas, whose law has survived previous state court challenges, three other states have a similar sex toys statute: Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia. Laws in Louisiana, Kansas, Colorado and Georgia have been thrown out by courts in recent years.

The 2-1 opinion by a panel of the 5th Circuit was based heavily on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, which struck down a Texas law prohibiting private consensual sex among people of the same sex.

That case established a broad constitutional right to sexual privacy.

On the heels of that landmark ruling, Reliable Consultants Inc. sued Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in 2004 in U.S. District Court in Austin.

Personally I view such "decency" laws as intrusive and archaic. But then I'm of the frame of mind that what one or more consenting adults do in the privacy of their home is none of the government's business. If they want to add a battery operated friend to the mix well then more power to them. I may however draw the line at sex with robots though. But since we haven't gotten to that point I'm thinking I'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I received an offer to exchange links with a Sex Fashion Blog based on this post. I declined because the site is not PG and contains no content related to this blog. But I linked to them in this post to thank them for asking.