Conservatives are strong believers in government so small that it can fit in your bedroom, so the latest revelation about Ted Cruz is somehow not too surprising. At one time, the Republican presidential candidate helped to defend a law criminalizing the sale of dildos. Cruz’s legal team took it as far as to argue that there was no right “to stimulate one’s genitals.”
When Sen. Ted Cruz served as a Texas solicitor general, he championed many causes. He defended the inclusion of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, touted a restrictive voter identification law, and a ban on late-term abortions, among other issues.
But there was also that time he helped defend a law criminalizing the sale of dildos in a case which involved a battle regarding privacy and free speech rights.
Mother Jones reports:
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.
A federal judge upheld the law, noting that selling sex toys was not protected by the Constitution. When the plaintiffs appealed the ruling, Cruz’s solicitor general office had to defend preserving the law. That’s not a task most would want to take on, but Cruz defended it with vigor.
Cruz’s team filed a brief in which an unusual comparison was made. Dildos are, apparently, akin to “hiring a willing prostitute or engaging in consensual bigamy.” This is the point where you should be feeling very sad about his sex life, or lack thereof.
Another peculiar line of the brief read, “There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.”
Cruz’s argument didn’t go down well. In February of 2008, Cruz’s defense of the law was smacked down with the court pointing to the “right to be free from governmental intrusion regarding ‘the most private human contact, sexual behavior.'”
Still yet, Cruz was not ready to give up but his attempt to take it to the Supreme Court failed. Cruz’s brief suggesting that if the decision stood, some people would argue that “engaging in consensual adult incest or bigamy” did not go down well with the state.
We’re not sure how Ted Cruz would police residents’ bedrooms in Texas to be sure they aren’t engaging in anything he considers to be obscene. ‘Hey, what’s that you have in your hand!’
Featured image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.