It’s nearing time to vote.. do you know all of the details?

Hey Houston. Are you familiar with the amendments up for vote, this November 8th? If you’re not, there’s one you should definately be aware of. Proposition Two, also know as the Texas Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment.

Prop. 2 will read as follows: “The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

The actual language of the amendment is: “Article I, Texas Constitution, (The Bill of Rights) is amended by adding Section 32 to read as follows:

Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.

(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage. ”

So what does this mean?

I’m going to come off sounding way left wing, and a little pissed off, so please bear with me. I promise, I will back up what I say, and I will make sense. Even if you, as one individual stated to me on the street, the other day, think “those damned queers should be shot, rather than allowed to marry,” please, give me the courtesy of reading my post.

First off, this amendment will server no other purpose than to write discrimination into the Texas Bill of Rights. That’s right, Houston. This amendment will make discrimination against gays and lesbians a right in the State of Texas.

‘BUT WAIT’, you’re saying… ‘Won’t this keep gays from marrying, therefore preserving the sanctity of marriage as a Christian institution?’

No. Well, technically, yes, but see… it’s already illegal for people of the same sex to marry (family code ? 2.001, 1997). It’s also already illegal to recognize same-sex marriages, or civil unions for same-sex couples (Family code ?6.204, 2003. Brought into being by SB 7, 2003). Additionally, laws have been on the record books as far back as the 1800’s, prohibiting the marriage, or civil union, of a same-sex couple. The laws I linked, above, are merely the newest.

So tell me, Houston, if it’s already illegal for homosexuals to marry, why does it need to be in our constitution. The amendment being affected is part of the Texas Bill of Rights. If Prop. 2 is passed, then discrimination against gays, lesbians, and transgendered people will become, in a sense, supported by our state’s constitution. Add to that the fact that you are doing nothing more than adding a law on top of a similar law that has already been on the books.

I think the No Nonsense in November campaign says it best, in this document, outlining the general nonsense of this proposition. To quote:

As Texans we’ve all watched and become appalled by the actions of the Texas Legislature. We have failure after failure to do the right thing for public education and school finance. We still have thousands of kids who can’t get access to health insurance. They’re about to force all of us to pay an unfair share of regressive taxes with education and state services still underfunded. It’s total nonsense. And with all of that undone, they have time to deal with sexy cheerleading and to now expect us to rubber stamp their nonsense of prohibiting many Texans from the ability to protect their property, their medical decisions, inheritance and hundreds of other rights and responsibilities granted through civil marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships and possibly even common law marriage.

They’re asking you to put this in the Texas Constitution: the fundamental document that defines us as Texans. For the first time in history, you are being asked to put a prohibition against someone’s human rights in a document that has long been seen as the place where you grant and expand protections for people.

That’s nonsense since it’s unnecessary. Marriage between people of the same sex is already illegal and the Legislature isn’t about to change that for a long, long time.

In their effort to enact this political wedge issue,they overreached with such legal nonsense that many believe it may also destroy the legal protections that thousands of Texans have through common law marriage. Other states which have adopted this language are already seeing judges overturn domestic violence cases just because there wasn’t a marriage certificate between two heterosexuals! The unintended consequences are staggering to imagine.

Read that one more time, very carefully, especially that last paragraph.

Did you see it? I know I sure did.
See, this law is worded as such that it prohibits the state from recognizing civil unions, even between hetereosexual (straight) couples. That includes common law marriage. Folks, there are literally tens of thousands of straight Texans that are common law married. These Texans face seeing their spousal rights and legal protections stripped away from them in one fail swoop, this November. It may be as if their marriage never existed in the first place. It is entirely possible that insurance companies could sue their clients for a return of the fees they paid out in spousal benefits to civil union and common law couples.

You want more information on how this amendment could effect heterosexual couples, maybe even you? Okay, see this page at NNN, that discusses the overly broad nature of the amendment.

Want my reasons for voting against the amendment? Here they are:

  • Homosexual marriage and civil union is already illegal in the State of Texas and has been for a very long time. That’s not going to change, anytime soon.
  • Writing this amendment into the constitution does nothing but place a foundation for discrimination against a very large portion of society into our bill of rights. Public discrimination has never, ever been a right.
  • This amendment is far too broad. It will have far-reaching effects against alredy-existing common law and civil unions for heterosexual (straight, non-gay) couples, including the dissolution of the legal status of their relationship, the removal of all spousal benefits, and the possible removal of some domestic violence protection (for more information, see this page (in html. Original document is in PDF, here).
  • Instead of concentrating on more important issues (like education, school finance, healthcare, etc…), the Texas legislature has been concentrating on passing a law that has already been passed.

If you want to read more about Proposition 2, please visit the LGRL page on the NNN website, or the No Nonsense In November website, directly.

If you’d like to help out in Houston, I’ll be posting an entry very shortly with details on the happenings in Houston.

I urge each of you, Houston, to pledge to vote against this amendment. Drop your comment to this entry, and pledge to vote against discrimination, future problems for both homosexual (gay) and heterosexual (straight) couples, and the pointless waste of our legislature’s time in coming up with a law that already exists.

Please. Pledge. Vote.

A proud Texan, pledging his vote of “AGAINST” on November 8th,
Eric “Fyre” Scalf

5 Comments so far

  1. katya (unregistered) on October 21st, 2005 @ 7:17 pm

    I didn’t realize that I hadn’t commented on this post yet (my poor weird little brain cells…. bah) – but I think that you’ve done an excellent excellent job putting all that info together into metblog-sized pieces. I really hope that our fellow Houstonians get off their collective butts and vote. Thanks for the info!


  2. Bob T (unregistered) on October 22nd, 2005 @ 10:50 am

    What bunch of BS. It’s illegal already as you’ve stated and the upstanding citizens of Texas want to KEEP it that way. We’ve had enough of your liberal “I’m OK, your OK”, “If it feels good, do it” attitude. Understand that this type crap is why our nation is under judgement by The Creator, and YOU have a BIG part in it. No offense, really, but know the facts.


  3. Fyre (unregistered) on October 22nd, 2005 @ 5:53 pm

    Bob:

    What a bunch of BS. It’s illegal already as I’ve stated, and the upstanding citizens of Texas will keep it that way, even if they vote against the amendment. Putting this amendment into the state constitution sets a bad precedent for discrimination.

    What would people be saying if this amendment said something along the lines of “Marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman, both of the same race?” EVERYONE would have problems with it, but, if I’m not mistaken, the Bible speaks against interracial marraige in a couple of places. What happened to that, hmm?

    This nation was not founded on the any religion, it was founded on freedom for religious choice. As specified by the whole seperation of church and state business (remember that), religion has no place in politics. (Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world, and we’re going to have some bleed over. But an amendment based primarily on one religion’s specifics has no place.)

    Look, I’m not going at this like “I’m OK, you’re OK,” or “If it feels good, do it.” I’m going at this like “discrimination is illegaly in many forms, and this will set a terrible precedent allowing it.”

    I understand that, quite possibaly the majority of people don’t want homosexuals to marry. You need to understand that this particular amendment will not change the fact that homosexuals cannot marry, EVEN IF IT IS NOT PASSED. Even if the amendment is not passed, homosexuals will STILL be prohibited from marrying. This amendment does NOT change that.

    The amendment, however, WILL cause problems for HETEROSEXUALS (every male-female couple (and I specify that because some people confuse the terms, not because I think you don’t know the difference. I’m sure you do)). Every heterosexual that is in any sort of civil union, OR is common-law married, even god-fearing, religiously devout couples, will find themselves suddenly outside of any union, if this amendment passes.

    Yeah, I’d prefer people to be able to live as they please, but that’s just not going to happen – at least not for a very long time. So, that’s why I spent quite a bit of time on other details as well.. i.e. discrimination precedents, and problems with heterosexuals. You are aware that similarly worded amendments in other states have already been used to deny domestic violence protection to some people? What does a woman do if her boyfriend is threatening to kill her? If this amendment passes, a judge could argue that since they are not married, the state cannot recognize them as a couple, and therefore she is not entitled to protection from domestic violence. (don’t tell me that won’t happen. It already has, in other states.)

    Also, sir, I resent the allegation that I am not an upstanding citizen because I support the freedom of choice, and equality. You would be careful to watch your wording.


  4. Michael-Ann (unregistered) on October 31st, 2005 @ 10:07 am

    It is a tragedy when a group of people focus any energy on adding items of this nature to our constitution when there are so many other REAL issues that should be dealt with.

    Healthcare, public education, and the environment, are just three blatently obvious issues we should be tenaciously addressing…but no, we prefer to inject ourselves and the collective energy of many into the private lives of individuals and couples.

    Apparently, upstanding citizens would forego spending time looking after our children’s health and education and the overall state of the environment (facets of our world with wich we as humans CAN have a DIRECT impact on) so as to make sure we have redundant laws in place to prevent society from having to acknowledge a love between two people. crazy.


  5. Michael-Ann (unregistered) on October 31st, 2005 @ 10:20 am

    p.s. This is a great write-up, thanks for including all the links too.



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