The Lesser-Known Tale of Ted Cruz, the Anti-Dildo Monger

The tales of Ted Cruz constantly tip the scales between hilarious and hellish. Take for instance the time Cruz, proudly recalling his time as Texas solicitor general in his campaign book, called for the Ten Commandments to be displayed on the grounds of the state capitol. Hysterical. Or the occasion when Cruz championed gun rights by defending the conviction of a Mexican citizen who’d raped and murdered two teenage girls. Less funny, Ted.


And now, just when you thought it was safe to switch on the Internet, comes the latest installment in the Cruz chronicles: the time he tried to uphold a ban on the sale of dildos.

As reported in Mother Jones, among Cruz’s crusades as solicitor general listed so exhaustively in his painfully titled book, A Time for Truth, was the glaring omission of the time he almost became “the public face for the anti-dildos movement.”

Let’s take a trip back to 2004, a simpler time when Ted Cruz was barely a twinkle in the GOP’s eye. In Austin, Tex., a group of companies that ran adult stores decided enough was enough. Under the yoke of a poorly worded piece of legislation that outlawed the sale and promotion of "obscene devices," the stores operated in constant fear of the law. Their concern was not unjustified. Just a year earlier, a Texas mother had been busted by two undercover officers for selling vibrators to other women in her living room, an offense that could have sent her to jail for up to two years.

The companies decided to challenge the law in court. Among the plaintiff’s many rational arguments was their primary claim that it violated the right to privacy under the 14th Amendment. The federal judge ruled against the plaintiffs, and they promptly appealed. Enter solicitor general Ted Cruz and his fellow defenders of the law (as interpreted by the patriarchy).

The year was now 2007. Cruz's team of legal beagles produced a 76-page rationale for why the law should stand. Working on behalf of Attorney General (turned governor) Greg Abbott, the document called on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the lower court's 2004 decision. Cruz and his cohorts essentially argued that Texans were free to use sex toys in the privacy of their own homes; they just didn’t have a right to buy them. One of the many gems to be found in the document was that it was in the government’s interest to discourage “autonomous sex.”

Rationality prevailed and the ruling was struck down 2-1 by the court of appeals. The court eviscerated Cruz’s legal defense team, particularly its football field-length stretch comparing the sale of dildos to soliciting sex. "The sale of a device that an individual may choose to use during intimate conduct with a partner in the home is not the 'sale of sex' (prostitution),” the court stated.

Despite this definitive defeat, Cruz and Abbott were unwilling to give up. By this point though, with all the puritanical concerns over masturbation, the battle began to stink of classic Cruz overcompensation.

If any further proof of this is needed, take it from Cruz's former college roommate, the screenwriter Craig Mazin, who after hearing of the dildo debacle took to Twitter with this hillarious zinger:

Needless to say following an attempt to take the matter to the Supreme Court, Ted Cruz finally did call it quits. The law had been overturned and with it came the freedom for men and women throughout Texas (as well as Mississippi and Louisiana) to purchase all manners of devices that tickled their fancy.

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