In Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, the United States Supreme Court overturned a Texas anti-sodomy law that banned certain voluntary, consensual acts between individuals of the same sex. The “Homosexual Conduct” law made it illegal for an individual to engage in “deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex.” The statute had been adopted by the Democrat-controlled Texas Legislature in 1973.
Perry ran for his fourth term as governor in support of the 2010 Texas Republican Party platform, which stated: “We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.” In his book, Fed Up!, Perry decries Supreme Court intervention into state affairs, citing the Lawrence case as an example. In regard to Connecticut’s ban on the sale of contraceptives, which was overturned in 1963, he implies agreement with justice Potter Stewart, who stated that the ban was “an uncommonly silly law.” But Perry goes on to write that “we should all agree with him [Stewart] that it was nevertheless constitutional” (p108). Perry believes that it is proper for state governments to regulate the private, voluntary actions of consenting adults, whether it involves sexual relations or contraception.
Perry doesn’t think that individuals should be free to make such decisions. When it comes to sex and contraception, Perry believes that the individual should conform to the views of the majority.
Perry, and the Texas Legislature in general, opposes federal regulation of the boardroom, but has no qualms about state regulation of the bedroom. While Perry believes that individuals should generally be free to make money, he doesn’t believe that they should be free to make love.
As a further example of Perry’s support of the regulation of personal conduct, the 2010 Republican Party platform stated: “We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits.” This plank is mixed, in that government should not grant “special legal entitlements” to any group or individual. The proper purpose of government is the protection of individual rights. While gays do not have specific rights separate and distinct from heterosexuals, they do have rights as individuals. Gays and heterosexuals alike have a moral right to live as they choose, so long as they respect the mutual rights of others. Gays, like all individuals, have a right to pursue their own happiness.
Issues regarding insurance and retirement benefits are private affairs, and a proper government has no voice in the matter. If an employer or insurance company wishes to grant benefits to homosexual partners, that is an issue between the employer and employee. Government has no legitimate right to demand or prohibit such private agreements. Just as employers have a moral right to offer whatever wages they choose, they also have a moral right to offer whatever benefits they choose. But the Texas Republican Party wants to prohibit such agreements, not because they violate anyone’s rights, but because the majority of Texans are supposedly opposed.