Valentines Day 2007 was a day for lovers, but not all lovers. This year, on Valentines Day, the Alabama Supreme Court rendered a decision that people who’s loving relationships included “sex toys” we’re out of luck, at least in Alabama, where the law that prohibited their “commercial distribution” (i.e., sales) was allowed to stay on the books.
Backing up a few years: When the U.S. Supreme Court came down with it’s landmark decision in the case known as Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 some people interpreted it as a decisive victory for the Libertarian principles that (rightly in my view) oppose all government interference in people’s personal lives. Most others, however, especially those in positions of power, seem to have interpreted it far less broadly.
Lawrence v. Texas was a decision that effectively killed a part of Texas’ anti-sodomy laws; the part that criminalized that behavior between consenting adults in a private setting. It did not, however, legalize non-consensual sodomy or, of course, any acts involving underage persons.
The Alabama ruling, referred to above, as well as another recent court ruling in Ohio that upheld a law criminalizing sexual conduct between a step-parent and an adult step-child, even though unrelated by blood, are both referred to in a current article at Law.com, written by Howard Bashman, a lawyer who specializes in appellate litigation. In his article he makes the point that:
“If (these) two recently issued appellate court rulings are any indication, the post-Lawrence fears of those concerned that public morality would no longer remain a valid basis for legislating consensual sexual conduct have proven to be overblown.”
As have, I might add, the post-Lawrence hopes that the ‘line’ that Lawrence v. Texas started to draw . . . the line between public morality and private conduct, would be a bit more solid and not be constantly blurred by Puritanical judges.
On the other hand, one thing that post-Lawrence rulings seem to have proven is that we still live in a strong Democracy where I, and others like me, will have to continue to bow to the will of the majority, even though we don’t always agree with them.
National Review Online: The Death of Morality?
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