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Perry Draws Blank on Landmark Texas Supreme Court Case

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry admitted Thursday that he didn’t know about the Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, a case decided while he was governor which struck down the state’s anti-sodomy law and similar laws in 13 others.

A voter at a meet and greet asked him to defend his criticism of limited government in the case.

“I wish I could tell you I knew every Supreme Court case. I don’t, I’m not even going to try to go through every Supreme Court case, that would be -- I’m not a lawyer,” Perry said at the Blue Strawberry Coffee Shop here. “We can sit here and you know play I gotcha questions on what about this Supreme Court case or whatever, but let me tell you, you know and I know that the problem in this country is spending in Washington, D.C., it’s not some Supreme Court case.”

In 2003, the Supreme Court deemed Texas’ anti-sodomy law to be unconstitutional in a 6-3 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, and the case nullified anti-sodomy laws in 13 other states at the same time. Perry, a strong opponent of gay marriage and the ability of homosexuals to serve openly in the military, served as governor when this case was decided.

Asked by Ken Herman, a columnist with the Austin American Statesman, for clarification on whether he knew what the case concerned, Perry responded, “I’m not taking the bar exam … I don’t know what a lot of legal cases involve.”

When told that the Supreme Court case struck down the Texas sodomy law, Perry said, “My position on traditional marriage is clear ... I don’t need a federal law case to explain it to me.”

The Texas governor referenced Lawrence v. Texas in his 2010 book Fed Up!, calling it one of the court cases in which “Texans have a different view of the world than do the nine oligarchs in robes.”

Perry had a previous Supreme Court trip up earlier in the month when he misstated the number of justices on the Supreme Court and stumbled over the name of Justice Sotomayor during an editorial board meeting with the Des Moines Register.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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