for supplying your nicotine fix. If it’s okay to smoke marijuana, it’s okay to sell it. Legislators are sadly mistaken if they think they are going to reawaken youth’s respect for the law simply by loosening the sanctions against marijuana use. The bills under consideration are not .going to end the anguished calls from parents whose children have been charged with felonies. The first time Junior is caught he may only be fined. But Junior probably isn’t going to stop smoking grass simply because he’s been burned once, the practice is too closely woven into our social fabric for that. The second time Junior is caught, he may be sent to prison. Junior may even turn out to be a pusher. Most everyone who uses marijuana in the State of Texas is a pusher, because the definition of sale includes giving the stuff away \(that’s what The bills by Rep. Ron Waters and Sen. Chet Brooks are the most realistic measures the Observer has seen to date. Waters’ bill would redefine sale and require the prosecution to prove that a defendant Austin A committee of the State Bar Association has written a revised Penal Code which is currently being studied in a subcommittee chaired by Sen. Tati Santiesteban of El Paso. One major accomplishment of the revision is its elimination of laws dealing with matters that are not properly the business of the state. Specifically, in contrast with the statutes now in effect, the revised code makes no mention of sex performed in private by consenting adults. With one exception. Section 21.06 of that code would make homosexual acts, even in private and even involving only consenting adults, a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. At a recent meeting of Santiesteban’s subcommittee Houston district attorney Carol Vance implied that reduction of the maximum sentence for homosexual acts from 15 years to six months was a sufficient concession to progress. Even 15 years, of course, is more reasonable than the life sentences of Nevada, for instance, but there are other points to consider. In fact, it’s hard to say which of the two laws, the current or the proposed, stands to have the worse effect. Of course, a lesser maximum sentence may mean less reluctance on the part of police and district attorneys to apply the law. But the number of people actually arrested and convicted is in any case only a tiny fraction of the number who could be, and the greater evil lies not in imprisonment itself but in the possibility of it. It does violence to the person to have intimate aspects of life the subject of any criminal statute at all. received a profit from the sale of marijuana before he could be found guilty of pushing. The penalty for selling marijuana would be a maximum of three years under Waters’ bill. No doubt it would have been utopian to expect the Legislature to legalize marijuana during this session. The state’s politicans have come a long way in their thinking on the subject in the past two years. Rep. Joe Salem, who foamed at the mouth when marijuana was mentioned last session, now has a bill that would give users three years probation for possession of eight grams or less and would erase a conviction from the record upon satisfactory completion of the probationary term. Still, if legislators settle on an irrational compromise based on the false assumption that there are easily discernible moral differences between “experimenters” and “pushers,” that compromise will boomerang the pot issue right back into their laps in 1975. And the Observer will be right there ready to say we told you so. K.N. Whether consciously or not, every homosexual lives with the constant threat of going to jail and of being thus officially and publicly drummed out of the ranks of the fully human. Section 21.06, it should be noted, is in addition to laws against the kinds of sexual activity that bring about the greatest public indignation, like sex in public places. Thus its deletion from the code would not prevent arrests like that of the Callahan County attorney and two other men in Austin’s Pease Park a few weeks ago \(Obs., other laws to prohibit rape, sex with minors, and public lewdness, the only conceivable need for 21.06 is to insure the reign of law and order in the bedrooms of homosexuals. Psychiatry, for better or for worse, has come to be considered the highest authority on a good many matters, including homosexuality. Many psychiatrists like Thomas Szasz and Martin Hoffman have followed the lead of Freud in calling homosexuality nothing more than an individual variation. Others like Irving Bieber have gone to great pains to demonstrate that homosexuals are categorically sick. But if even the harshest verdict of the psychiatrists is accepted, it’s still hard to imagine any intelligent argument to support the jailing of homosexuals. Two recent occurrences have established ample precedent for putting an end to this form of legal persecution. First, considerable impetus has grown for the decriminalization of the private use of at least small amounts of marijuana; second, Sarah Weddington has won an important Supreme Court case involving women’s rights. The principle has thus been established that one’s body is one’s own property; it takes determined effort to refuse to admit that that principle applies in the case of homosexuals. It’s difficult to assess the. chances for deletion of Section 21.06. Abortion and marijuana, issues subject to the same kind of gut-level reaction as homosexuality, nevertheless rally enough of the right kind of public interest to make them relatively safe politically. But gay liberation in Texas has barely gotten off the less hidebound campuses where it began. Direct confrontation between gay liberation and party politics at Democratic conventions last year sent spasms of revulsion through the ranks of the politically pragmatic. Since then, even people like the redoubtable Sarah Weddington, when questioned in public, have prudently avoided making any but the most equivocal statements on the subject. The prospects are less than encouraging. There is reason to believe that homosexuality is older than the species. The persecution of homosexuals dates from the inception of the Christian hegemony and has included as punishment legal castration in modern California, mandatory life sentences in Georgia, and death by burning at the stake during the Spanish inquisition. If the antiquity of the persecution partially explains the resistance to change, it also gives some indication of an enormous amount of accumulated human suffering. David Morris David Morris is a graduate student in romance languages at the University of Texas at Austin. March 16, 1973 19 Bookkeeping & Tax Service 0 a_ MARTIN ELFANT Sun Life of Canada 1001 Century Building Houston, Texas CA 4-0686 Revise sodomy law 503 WEST 15TH, AUSTIN 78701 OFFICE HOURS: 9 A.M. TO 5 P.M. AND BY APPOINTMENT ANYTIME
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