Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Legal gay unions banned in Texas (and maybe all marriage, too?)

The constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman has passed in Texas by a 3-to-1 ratio.

Proposition 2 also prohibits the state legislature or local governments from creating or recognizing "any legal status identical or similar to marriage." That is, any legal recognition of civil unions or domestic partnerships is now prohibited. Some critics are saying that the amendment is worded so sloppily that it could be construed to invalidate all marriages (the irony would be delightful, but unlikely). More realistically, there are worries that the new law could be used to challenge gay couples' legal arrangements on property and end-of-life decisions. Meanwhile, according to The Dallas Morning News:

Conservative activist Kelly Shackelford, who helped write the amendment and led the campaign for it, called such worries "nonsense."

Well, that's reassuring. A quick history lesson: last year in Michigan, backers of the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage made repeated assurances that the measure would not deprive anyone of benefits and was only about protecting the special cultural status of traditional male-female marriage. Then, after the amendment had passed, those same conserative politicians and activists turned around and successfully pressured Gov. Jennifer Granholm to drop same-sex domestic partner benefits from an already negotiated contract for public employees. Republican state Senator Alan Cropsey, who had proposed the marriage amendment and then joined in the demand to revoke the benefits, told The Flint Journal he and his fellow activists had meant to say only that "existing" benefits would not be affected by the amendment, while future benefit packages -- or even renewals of existing benefit packages after current contracts expired -- were a different matter. In other words, a classic bait-and-switch. (Excerpts from a Flint Journal article which is no longer online can be found here; see also my column on the subject.)

So I wouldn't put too much stock by Mr. Shackleford's reassurances. Clearly, the Texas amendment is not just an acknowledgment of the special status of male/female marriage; it is an attack on any legal recognition of the relationships of same-sex couples. It is worth noting that President Bush has spoken out in favor of civil unions, and that only 37% of voters nationwide in 2004 took the position that there should be no legal recognition of same-sex unions.

Many conservatives claim that they do not oppose legal rights for gay couples, they simply want to protect the stature of the male/female union as society's most fundamental building block. While I support full legal rights for gay couples, I can (as I have written before) see the merits of this argument. But when will those conservatives go beyond paying lip service to legal rights for gay couples? When will they, at the very least, come out against measures that negate such rights completely?

10 comments:

bearblue said...

As I mentioned to some friends before, of course the straight people want to vote against same sex marraige. They outnumber gay/bi/alt folks 90 to 10. Even if the gay/bi/alt folks manage to convince their friends to vote for marriage rights, that only makes it 80/20, give or take.

It's a clear trampling of minority rights by majority rule. I suspect in 5 or 10 years all these state "amendments," will be declared unconstitutional - if only because of those "don't have to recognize unions," clauses. It's what happened with interacial marriage.

peter hoh said...

These amendments overreach. For that reason alone, I expect them all to be repealed in the next 20 years. In Ohio, the marriage amendment was used to defend people accused of domestic violence involving unmarried couples. They argued that the amendment meant that the state domestic violence laws were not applicable to cases involving unmarried couples. Not sure how far they got with that argument, but I expect we'll see a number of cases where the amendments will have unintended consequences.

Bearblue, in a generation or two, straight people will still outnumber gay people, but the majority of them will vote to extend the rights of marriage to same sex couples.

Anonymous said...

I agree Cathy, the hardest part of establishing legitamacy for your position is policing your own side. So far the "one man one woman" crowd haven't done that.

Revenant said...

I agree Cathy, the hardest part of establishing legitamacy for your position is policing your own side. So far the "one man one woman" crowd haven't done that.

Neither side has. The pro-gay-marriage side, after all, has the "open marriage" advocates -- who really DO want to weaken the institution of marriage, just like social conservatives claim all gays do.

But of course, you can't "police" a moral or philosophical belief system. What's a gay marriage proponent (or opponent) supposed to do -- say "you can't be on our side anymore"? How's that supposed to work.

John Howard said...

those same conserative politicians and activists turned around and successfully pressured Gov. Jennifer Granholm to drop same-sex domestic partner benefits from an already negotiated contract for public employees.

"Turned around"? They opposed them before and they opposed them after. Find me a quote where those guys ever said "we support DP benefits." They would have opposed them everytime they came up for discussion, regardless of how that amendment went. DP benefits were never set into stone forever, so they would not have been protected even if the amendment hadn't passed. The passage of the amendment merely proved that voters

John Howard said...

...didn't want them, so the future contract ("already negotiated"?? Cute term, but meaningless.) should not include marriage-like benefits. The Gov didn't have to succumb to their pressure, but saw the writing on the wall.

Anonymous said...

According to The Dallas Morning News Texans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to bolster the state's ban on same-sex
marriage by writing it into the state constitution, rejecting concerns
that the broadly worded amendment could go much further than intended.

Anonymous said...

black gay men
gay porn
free gay porn movies
black gay cock
gay black guys
gay black men fucking
ebony gay sex
older gay black men
horny gay guys
gay ebony sex
gay black men sex
black gay men fucking

hanly said...

Blu Ray Converter
Convert Blu Ray to AVI
Convert Blu Ray to MKV
Convert Blu Ray to MOV
Convert Blu Ray to MP4

Peter said...

nice share thanks a lot :)

download free pc games
affiliate review