If the combination of presidential politics and sex is bound to get attention, Mother Jones published a gem last week, noting that Ted Cruz, during his tenure as Texas’ solicitor general, helped defend a law criminalizing the sale of adult sexual devices.
As David Corn’s article documented, Cruz, before he was elected to the Senate, co-authored a legal brief in 2007, urging the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold “a Texas law outlawing the sale and promotion of supposedly obscene devices.” The brief compared the use of sex toys to “hiring a willing prostitute or engaging in consensual bigamy,” and it equated advertising these products with the commercial promotion of prostitution. The legal filing also declared, “There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.”
BuzzFeed reported that the senator was asked about the article during a radio interview last week.
Cruz, asked by WABC radio host Curtis Sliwa if he would ban “the sale of sexual toys, dildos, or anything that sexually stimulates you,” answered that he would not.“Look, of course not, it’s a ridiculous question, and of course not,” Cruz told Sliwa on Friday. “What people do in their own private time with themselves is their own business and it’s none of government’s business.”
Say hello to Ted Cruz, sexual libertine.
The clarification was hardly a surprise – the Mother Jones piece made the rounds quickly, and Cruz was bound to face a question or two about it – and there was no reason to believe the senator would allow this to be part of his presidential platform.
But there is that nagging question just below the surface: if Cruz is prepared to argue that it’s “none of government’s business” when Americans do “in their own private time,” how does the senator reconcile this with his support for government laws restricting reproductive rights and marriage equality?
As best as I can tell, Cruz hasn’t fully clarified, but the wording of his answer last week may offer a hint: “What people do in their own private time with themselves is their own business.”
As was the case in his 2007 brief, Cruz apparently draws a distinction between adult relationships of an “interpersonal” nature, as compared to what private citizens do “with themselves.”
If there’s a merciful God, this won’t be an important campaign issue – I’ve already edited out an unintended double entendre or two from the above text – but it’s nevertheless helpful to get a better sense of the presidential contenders’ ideologies.