On Feb. 13, sex-toy retailers in Texas rejoiced when a federal appeals court ruled—just in time for Valentine’s Day—that a Texas prohibition against the sale of dildos and pocket pussies violated the 14th Amendment.
According to the Texas (ahem) penal code, it is forbidden to sell or to advertise an artificial penis or vagina "primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs." The statute makes an exception for instances in which the purchase meets a "medical, psychiatric, judicial, legislative, or law enforcement" need. Even so, in Reliable Consultants v. Ronnie Earle, the normally conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the ban on the grounds that it violated the right of ordinary citizens "to engage in private intimate conduct in the home without government intrusion."
One of only four states banning sexual doodads (the other three are Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama), Texas is not about to take this insult lying down. Last week, state Attorney General Greg Abbott petitioned the appellate court to reconsider the matter en banc (see exerpts below and on the following three pages). Abbott wrote that, if permitted to stand, the court’s decision may "invite … challenges to previously-uncontroversial criminal prohibitions" on sexual practices such as "consensual adult incest or bigamy" (Page 4).