Republican strategist Dan Neil told Fox News in Austin that it’s time to take §21.06, the homosexual conduct law, off the books in Texas. That provision of the Texas Penal Code was declared unconstitutional in 2003 in the Lawrence v. Texas case.
Last week, state Rep. Jessica Farrar of Houston filed a repeal bill in the Texas House. State Sen. Jose Rodriguez filed a companion bill in the Senate.
“If it’s unconstitutional, they should take the measures and time to get it off the books,” Neil said. “It makes fiscal sense to get it off the books so that there is not another situation as in El Paso where there’s a lawsuit and the city pays out for something that it shouldn’t pay out for just because a legislator didn’t take the time to get it off the books.”
Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith told Fox, “It’s there for no other reason than to denigrate and demean lesbian and gay Texans.”
The El Paso case referred to a couple kicked out of a restaurant for kissing and threatened by a police officer who said he would arrest them under the statute. Kissing was never included as illegal conduct under the law.
The question is whether Neil’s support will translate into Republican votes needed for the measure to pass.
Watch the video below.