Ted Cruz opposes the right to masturbate

David Corn at Mother Jones has quite the story this morning about the time that Ted Cruz, as Texas Solicitor General, defended the state’s law criminalizing the sale of “obscene devices,” including dildos.

As Corn explains, in 2004, a handful of companies in Austin sued Texas after a woman was arrested by two undercover cops for selling sex toys at the equivalent of a Tupperware party. As the companies argued, this kind of regulation on commercial activity tied to private behavior fairly clearly violated the right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment. Cruz, as Solicitor General, was charged with arguing that this wasn’t the case, and that the government had a compelling state interest in regulating the masturbation market out of existence.

He made that case, and then some.

While Cruz’s main argument rested on the somewhat contradictory position that while the government couldn’t prohibit private citizens from using dildos, it could prohibit people from selling them, he didn’t stop there. As Corn reports, the brief filed by Cruz and then-Attorney General Greg Abbott:

…insisted that Texas in order to protect “public morals” had  “police-power interests” in “discouraging prurient interests in sexual gratification, combating the commercial sale of sex, and protecting minors.” There was a  “government” interest, it maintained, in “discouraging…autonomous sex.” The brief compared the use of sex toys with “hiring a willing prostitute or engaging in consensual bigamy,” and it equated advertising these products with the commercial promotion of prostitution. In perhaps the most noticeable line of the brief, Cruz’s office 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.”

That’s right: A serious contender for the nomination of a major political party in 2016 has argued in federal court that you don’t have a right to masturbate, and that if it so chose, the government could criminalize such activity.

Not for nothing, such a government action could land Cruz in some hot water:

As one might imagine, Cruz lost the case. In a 2-1 ruling, the court of appeals held that if masturbating is protected by the right to privacy, which it is, then banning the sale of products related to masturbation presents an undue burden on that right. The only interest one can find in regulating non-procreative sexual activity is a religious one, and that’s fairly clearly out of bounds for setting government regulations in the secular public and private spheres.

For reasons I’ll let the reader surmise, Cruz and Abbott did not appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

As the Republican primary drags on, it’s looking increasingly likely that Ted Cruz has carved out a plausible path to wrestling the nomination from Donald Trump at the convention in Cleveland this summer. As someone who is very much interested in seeing the eventual Republican nominee lose in November, cases like this are among the many reasons why I’d be totally fine with that happening. Not only has Ted Cruz gotten to Donald Trump’s right on signature issues such as immigration, his social views are wacky to the point at which they’re downright uncomfortable. And unlike Trump, who clearly hasn’t put much intellectual effort into his positions on same-sex marriage and abortion until relatively recently, Ted Cruz genuinely believes in his theocratic platform.

And it’s not just on masturbation. Remember, Cruz is a death penalty enthusiast who may well believe that the government should execute women who have abortions. He only recently distanced himself from the views of Ken Swanson, the pastor who believes that the government should execute gay people and who featured Cruz as a speaker in Iowa late last year. He has endorsed a plan to “rescue America’s inner cities” by replacing Beyoncé with Jesus…and by taking children away from black single mothers below a certain level of poverty.

Oh, and he hits his kids.

It’s hard to overstate just how difficult it is to elect someone who holds this collection of views in 2016. The median American voter may not be in love with Hillary Clinton, but Ted Cruz is straight up creepy.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • dieter heymann

    It is hard to believe but candidate Cruz has succeeded to change my views on John Winthrop. Compared to Cruz Winthrop was a compassionate and tolerate man who regularly masturbated himself and recommended its practice for health purposes. A bit more research might unearth Winthrop sermons which praise masturbation as a beautiful gift of God.

  • elaina

    If he’s elected president, he will be the most intrusive, authoritarian asserter of his own personal religious moral agenda ever to occupy the White House. He’s determined to make it 1860 again in every social issue….or, more like 1160. Medieval rather than Victorian.

  • JS

    I would like to hear from the sanders supporters who have vowed to stay at home rather than vote for Clinton. I’m gay, and I tried being a single-interest voter after Obama disappointed me before he was even sworn in by inviting the creep Rick Warren to the ceremony. And I have changed my mind. My vote will go to the democrat who can keep these awful people out of the White House. How many sanders supporters are going to allow this to happen?

  • Anyone who can even conceive of that as a valid position is in serious need of professional help.

  • They want to control everything.

    As for sex, remember that bearing children is Eve’s punishment for eating an apple. Therefore, it you’re going to have sex, it has to lead to pain and suffering — for the woman.

  • Kathrinejrodriguez2

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  • SkippyFlipjack

    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.

    Ted Cruz — the only guy who could make an awful opinion sound even more skin-crawling.

  • I’m gonna spunk all over Ted Cruz’s face.

  • DoverBill

    May the Occulus God strike him blind!

  • I’ll say this: We’ve got a lot of Ted Cruz pictures in the media library. I went out and found a new one for this post.

  • Rachel Hawkridge

    Triple the brain bleach.

  • JdPater13

    you are all retarded. Politicians on both sides give a damn about none of us. Only care for the votes that they can get, and they’ll say whatever they have to to try and get them.

    It’s like Hilary being pro women whenever she’s helped destroy countless women’s lives. They do whatever they want to in their own life. They do what they are told to do in their political life to make it to the top, and then they start doing whatever they want again when they make it there.

  • Cynthia Williams

    ROFL !!! Begging? It is fair shouting for topic-appropriate photoshopping!

  • Halou

    And he’s doing it with both hands.

  • Halou

    The word is “Procreation”. Whether it is abortion, gay rights, condom use, even masturbating, anything that makes it less likely for a woman to become pregnant has to be outlawed. These people work under the assumption that if there were 50 or 100 million more people in the country there would be that many more people working, paying taxes, and adding extra christian whiteness to American demographics.
    We get the same messages from the same sort of people over here in Europe.

    Never mind that in the areas of the world that are seeing the highest rates of population growth are also those suffering the highest rates of poverty in part because the population is growing faster than the economy, they cannot build housing fast enough, they cannot train and hire teachers fast enough, and with their children not learning even basic literacy and numeracy they cannot gain meaningful employment once they become adults.
    These illiterate and unemployed slum-dwelling youths are the most susceptible to the influence of religious extremists, but maybe that’s been the real mission all along…

  • MidnightSun

    Oh, easy! Sex and masturbation release a bunch of stress-reducing hormones so you feel less angry and afraid. Keeping people angry and afraid is essential to controlling them.

  • MidnightSun

    The photo of Cruz is just begging for topic-appropriate photoshopping.

  • Amwatching2c

    Theo Cracy Ted ? A month or so I swear I saw where his wife made some comments. If I could remember where?

  • Amwatching2c

    The people of means aren’t affected by these Puritan beliefs. They only enforce them on “others”. They never acknowledge the circumstances and ability of people. They will sicken people to squeeze every last cent out of them. Freedom Liberty they scream, waving the flag they want to soil, with criminal enhanced interviews. They can quote the bible but don’t get what it means. Where do you stand on the issues? HERE http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/images/297755main_GPN-2001-000009_full.jpg

  • Zorba

    I feel sorry for Heidi Cruz. OTOH, she could have given Rafael Edward “Ted” the old heave-ho, but she didn’t.
    I bet she doesn’t even know what she’s missing.

  • goulo

    In fairness, that could depend on where you go looking for each one, and what type of each one you’re interested in.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Unfortunately, that’s true, but this year the snatched defeat can hurt many, many people.

  • Butch1

    None of them is fit to be sitting in the White House, especially Ted Cruz. We do not need a “wannabe” preacher making decisions based on his religion. I shudder to think about it.

  • Butch1

    Exactly so.

  • Power over the most intimate aspects of the lives of others, often just because but also sometimes to compensate for insecurity and a perceived lack of control over their own lives.

    Next question?

  • Gindy51

    They have none so they want the rest of us to be miserable.

  • Lee Ames

    What is it about Conservatives and them wanting to control people’s sex lives?

  • To a certain extent. However, it’s a long-known truism among Democrats that they tend to eat their own and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  • The_Fixer

    Ditto on the shower and the brain bleach. It’s too much for human consciousness to endure.

  • Lots and lots of couples use sex-toys. Including when ‘procreating’ and/or in the context of a monogamous ‘interpersonal relationship.’

    Cruz’s argument makes no sense whatsoever, unless one completely lacks the imagination to realize that even something as simple as using a silk blindfold or some neckties to do a little light bondage or even ‘dressing up’ for a bit of role play are all examples of using regular world items as sex toys.

    The ONLY reason for Texas’ stupid ban is puritanical prudery…and hypocrisy, because the people with the kinkiest squiks are always the ones who appear all sexually repressed and sanctimonious in public. And they’re the ones most obsessed with what other people are doing in the privacy of their own homes and bedrooms.

    Now then, the mere idea of Ted Cruz having sweaty masturbatory sex makes me need a shower and a tall glass of brain bleach.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Everyone on the left should be trying to not get these right wingers in the White House. Instead we fight with one another. I’m certain Republicans must be behind all this infighting.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    “The brief compared the use of sex toys with “hiring a willing prostitute”

    I’m certain the sex toys will be a lot cheaper.

  • Butch1

    “. . . He only recently distanced himself from the views of Ken Swanson, the pastor who believes that the government should execute gay people and who featured Cruz as a speaker in Iowa late last year. . . ”

    That’s interesting considering his religion strongly believes that gays should be rounded up and be put to death. It makes me wonder if he were president he would actively pursue this? We already know that his Dominion faith also wants to change this country from a Constitutional-republic to a Theocracy. If he became the president would he actively pursue this as well? He is a Constitutional lawyer who was a clerk for Justice Rehnquist, so he has plenty of experience with Constitutional law and “changing” it.

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