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Here comes that anti-gay marriage bill

Ready or not.

RedEquality

“Texas is pioneering a legislative effort to subvert a potential Supreme Court ruling on marriage and lock in discrimination against gay and transgender people and their families,” Kathy Miller, president of the left-leaning Texas Freedom Network, told reporters in a conference call Monday morning.

“If successful, the strategy could spread to other states, especially in the South,” she said. “But it definitely risks a major backlash from the business community and from Texas voters … that would damage the brand of Texas for a long time to come.”

Miller was alluding to controversies that flared in Indiana and Arkansas a couple of months ago after lawmakers in both states passed religious-refusal bills inspired by a spate of federal court victories by gays and lesbians seeking to overturn state bans of same-sex marriage.

The Texas bills are drawing national attention. Several reporters from national news media organizations participated in Monday’s press call.

Organizers hope to generate a groundswell of protests by Texans, especially to center-right members of the Texas House’s GOP leadership. Miller said bill opponents are less optimistic about their chances of stopping the bills in the Texas Senate. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has shown his eagerness to pass similar legislation by successfully persuading senators to suspend Senate rules recently to allow late filing of one such bill, she said.

[…]

Chuck Smith, executive director of the gay rights group Equality Texas, called it “a mean spirited piece of legislation.”

Smith said it would ignore Texans’ growing acceptance of gay marriage and inflict unnecessary pain.

“It will be yet another state-sanctioned slap in the face to lesbian and gay couples who simply want to make a lifetime commitment to the person that they love,” he said.

The bill could generate costly lawsuits if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas’ 2005 gay marriage ban, said Smith and Rebecca Robertson, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas’ legal and policy director.

Robertson said county clerks would be caught between conflicting orders from judges, much like their counterparts in Alabama. In Alabama, a federal district court judge struck down that state’s same-sex marriage ban, but the state’s highest-ranking judge ordered officials not to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

“We’d absolutely be on the course that Alabama is on, where you just have chaos for the time being, until it’s sorted out,” she said.

See here for the background. There’s no chance of voting this bill down, so delays and the rulebook are the Democrats’ best friends. I hope someone has a point of order or three in his or her back pocket to try to send this mess back to committee.

The Observer notes the numbers:

In addition to Bell, HB 4105 is co-authored by 88 other House Republicans. Only nine Republicans hadn’t signed on as co-authors as of Monday morning: Rodney Anderson (Grand Prairie), Sarah Davis (Houston), Craig Goldman (Fort Worth), Todd Hunter (Corpus Christi), Linda Koop (Dallas), Morgan Meyer (Dallas), John Smithee (Amarillo), Speaker Joe Straus (San Antonio) and Jason Villalba (Dallas).

None of the chamber’s 52 Democrats were listed as co-authors.

Like I said, the Republicans are seriously out of touch with the general public on this. I’d be willing to bet that even a sample of Republican primary voters would be more than ten percent favorable to same sex marriage. But as always, until someone loses an election over it, nothing will change. As for the Dems, support of same sex marriage in our world is pretty high, but it’s not unanimous. Not having a single Democratic coauthor on this bill is therefore a nice accomplishment. I hope that translates to no votes in favor of it as well, but we’ll see. There are still a couple of potential holdouts to be reckoned with.

Meanwhile, in other same sex marriage news:

The Senate on Monday tentatively approved a bill saying that clergy, churches, religious organizations and their employees don’t have to be involved in gay weddings if they don’t want to be.

The bill advanced by a vote of 21-10, despite warnings from some Democrats that it’s vague and inadvertently might provide legal cover for biased actions by religious health-care institutions or clergy who hold elective offices such as justice of the peace.

Bill author Sen. Craig Estes, though, insisted the bill just would apply to wedding ceremonies and related events.

“As far as I’m concerned, this bill does not deal with the secular in any form,” said Estes, R-Wichita Falls.

“It is not my intention to discriminate against anyone with this bill,” he said. “My intention is to protect pastors’, ministers’ and clergy’s First Amendment rights.”

See here and here for the background. You know how I feel about this, so let me quote Sen. Rodney Ellis’ statement on SB2065, since he pretty much nails it:

“This bill is a solution in search of a problem,” said Senator Ellis. “In the more than 30 states where same-sex couples can legally marry, no clergy or house of worship has ever been compelled to perform a same-sex wedding. The fact is that there are many faith traditions that embrace gay and lesbian couples and joyfully celebrate these marriages. Nobody is reliant on forcing a reluctant pastor in order to get married.”

That has always been true in any context, and it will continue to be true for as long as we have the Constitution. The Trib has more.

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6 Comments

  1. Katy Anders says:

    The lowest common denominator keeps getting lower.

  2. Joe White says:

    You know I’m a long time supporter (Hi, M & E!), but let me try some word substitution:

    The fact is that there are many bakers that embrace gay and lesbian couples and joyfully celebrate these marriages. Nobody is reliant on forcing a reluctant baker in order to get married.

    I believe that no one should be forced to engage in any business transaction. If they refuse someone’s custom – because they don’t like the color of their skin, or the type of chromosome of their partner, or their political beliefs, or just don’t like the cut of their jib – that is their (loss of) business. But they have no standing to feel persecuted when others refuse to deal with them for their stance.

  3. […] 4105 banning gay marriage, which of course is already banned in Texas. I guess we’re going to Extra-Ban it, or maybe place …read […]

  4. M@ says:

    Sorry, Joe. That was all nicely said, but it falls well within my definition of discrimination. I wish the marketplace alone had the power to bring everyone around, but I don’t see it. The huge number of intolerant Texans Has the power and the desire to make those GLBT lives miserable.

  5. Joe White says:

    M@,

    It is discrimination. And it is abhorrent. That being said, I don’t think it should be illegal to be a bigoted idiot. They are to be pitied and educated, not prosecuted.

  6. […] here, here, and here for the background. Equality Texas had sent out an email alert about HB4105 being attached to […]

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