Deep in the heart of Texas, and just in time for Valentine’s, a court overturns the 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