Remember the Alamo-dildo!

The 5th Circuit rules that Texas' restrictions on sex toys are unconstitutional.


Catherine Price
March 5, 2008 8:30PM (UTC)

I know everyone's all wrapped up in Tuesday night's Clinton comeback in Texas, but I would feel remiss if I did not point out a piece of Texan news that somehow made it past the Broadsheet radar. On Valentine's Day (appropriately enough), the American Statesman reported that a federal appeals court struck down a Texas law that makes it illegal to sell or promote sex toys. (AlterNet commented on this more recently as well.)

The law, which has been around since the 1970s, makes it a crime to sell, advertise, give or lend "obscene devices," which are defined as devices used primarily for sexual stimulation. These days the law is rarely enforced, but it got attention in 2003 when a woman in a Fort Worth suburb held a sex-toy gathering, similar to a Tupperware party (but with, er, different forms of rubber). The charges against her were later dropped, but similar anti-sex-toy laws still exist in Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia.

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Before you ladies of Texas run out and buy dildos to sell to your neighbors, though, keep in mind that the decision was only made only by a three-judge panel on the 5th Circuit (which ruled 2-1 in favor of dropping the law). Opponents still have the options of asking the entire court to review the case or even appealing to the Supreme Court -- which seems like it'd be such a waste of the court's time (seriously, do we not have bigger issues to deal with?) that I'm tempted to tell the law's defenders to go screw themselves. Except that, if the law were to be enforced, they couldn't.


Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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Broadsheet Love And Sex Texas




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