A bill which seeks to repeal Louisiana's unconstitutional law banning gay sex cleared a House panel on Wednesday.

The committee sent the bill to the full House with a 9-6 vote, KSLA reported.

In the landmark 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas, the United States Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional Texas' sodomy law and by extension invalidated sodomy laws in 13 states, including Louisiana's law. Such laws criminalize consensual anal and oral sex between adults, but were most often used to prosecute gay men.

Citing a Baton Rouge case in which police attempted to enforce the law, Rep. Pat Smith, a Democrat, argued that leaving the law on the books is inviting a lawsuit.

(Related: Gay men arrested for agreeing to consensual sex under Louisiana's invalid sodomy law.)

“It really is a law enforcement bill that is inefficient and needs to come off the books so that no one in our cities and parishes gets sued for arresting people for something that is unconstitutional,” said Smith, the bill's sponsor in the House.

Chuck Lowman of the Baptist Association of Baton Rouge suggested the ban was needed to protect children.

“It is virtually impossible for parents to allow their children to spend time unsupervised in any of our city parks because of the prevalence of this kind of conduct is throughout our city parks,” he told lawmakers, referring to public same-sex sexual activity.

In his testimony, Jerry Malilly, M.D. said that without the law STDs would increase: “There are approximately 50,000 cases of AIDS that occur every year. Any study that is reputable will give you statistics from 65 to 78 percent of those cases the precipitating cause is sodomy.”

The bill faces a steep incline in the full House, which is controlled by Republicans.