I have three things to say about this.
In a rare if not unprecedented move for a Republican state legislator in Texas, Dallas Sen. John Carona expressed support for three key pieces of pro-equality legislation on Monday.
Carona told Instant Tea he would support bills in Texas to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment; offer domestic partner benefits to state university employees; and allow same-sex adoptive parents to have both names on birth certificates.
All three measures are expected to be priorities for Equality Texas, the statewide LGBT equality group, in the upcoming legislative session.
Carona also said he is “evolving” on same-sex marriage but added that he’s “not there yet.”
“I’m very undecided on the issue and I struggle with it,” Carona said of marriage equality. “I think the whole country is evolving, and I know for a fact that our young people are evolving including young Republicans.
“I can’t say that I’m there yet, that would be dishonest, but I can say that it’s a question that I find myself asking myself over and over,” Carona added. “What is the most conservative approach? Well, I’m always told less government, not more government, is better. What is the right thing? Well, I think anything that advances, encourages monogamy is a good thing. And frankly how could you be against people who want to get their affairs in order and have a loving household? So, yeah, I’m evolving, but admittedly I’m not there yet, nor do I believe the district is there yet, but times change and things may change.”
1. First and foremost, good for you, Sen. Carona. May there be many more, from both parties, who follow your lead. And may you survive the inevitable primary challenge that will come your way in your next election.
2. With another federal appeals court declaring the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) unconstitutional, the issue of marriage equality could become salient in Texas again. Sen. Carona says he’s “not there yet” on marriage equality, but it’s clear he’s on his way and that he will arrive in good time. It’s amazing to me that less than a decade after banning marriage equality was a huge electoral priority for the Republicans, the issue has completely turned around and is now a wedge that favors the Democrats, at least nationally. I don’t know what public opinion is like here in Texas, but after President Obama came out, the shift in favor of marriage equality has been noticeable, especially among people of color. I wouldn’t bet against the ridiculous Double Secret Illegal Anti-Gay Marriage constitutional amendment passing again in Texas if it were on the ballot this year, but it would sure get a lot less than 76%. And hopefully, someday soon, when the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA and eventually clears a path for marriage equality everywhere, I look forward to seeing all the intolerant jerks who pushed that awful and unnecessary piece of crap choke on it.
3. Inevitably, more Republicans will begin to follow Sen. Carona’s lead on this. When they do, it will erode the Democrats’ growing political advantage on the issue. And you know what? I’m totally fine with that. I’m more than happy to fight it out politically over other issues. The day that there is across-the-board political consensus in favor of marriage equality, America will be a much better place.