April 25, 2005
HJR6 makes it out of the House

HJR6, the bill that would make gay marriage Double Secret Illegal via a constitutional amendment, passed out of the House today by a 101-26 vote. As this was a vote on a proposed Constitutional amendment, the magic number was 100, as in 100 votes to pass. With every Republican but Martha Wong (who did not vote) casting an Aye plus three Republicans absent, that means it took 17 Democrats to take this disgusting thing one step closer to reality. Eighteen of them shamefully stepped up. Here are the bad guys:


Rep. Robert Cook, D-Eagle Lake Yes
Rep. Al Edwards, D-Houston Yes
Rep. Juan Escobar, D-Kingsville Yes
Rep. David Farabee, D-Wichita Falls Yes
Rep. Stephen Frost, D-Atlanta Yes
Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles, D-Alice Yes
Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City Yes
Rep. Mark Homer, D-Paris Yes
Rep. Chuck Hopson, D-Jacksonville Yes
Rep. Tracy King, D-Batesville Yes
Rep. Pete Laney, D-Hale Center Yes
Rep. Jim McReynolds, D-Lufkin Yes
Rep. Dora Olivo, D-Rosenburg Yes
Rep. Joseph Pickett, D-El Paso Yes
Rep. Inocente Quintanilla, D-Tornillo Yes
Rep. Richard Raymond, D-Laredo Yes
Rep. Allan Ritter, D-Nederland Yes
Rep. Patrick Rose, D-Dripping Springs Yes

I wonder if any of these clowns bothered to consider the possibility of this amendment being on the ballot next year as races for all statewide offices and a Senate seat are up for grabs. Do you think its presence, and the campaign to get it passed that would accompany it, might help one party over another? I'm just asking.

UPDATE: Ignore the paragraph above. If there is a referendum on this stupid resolution, it will be this year. Thanks to Karl-T and Bobby in the comments for the correction.

How bad is this thing? Let's count the ways:


The measure would change the Texas Constitution's Bill of Rights to define marriage as "a union between one man and one woman." Fourteen states have similar constitutional bans.

Mr. Chisum's measure would also prevent the state or any city or county from creating or recognizing "any legal status identical or similar to marriage." He called that a pre-emptive strike against any future Legislature allowing civil unions, which afford all the legal benefits of marriage for same-sex couples.

Earlier in the session, Mr. Chisum was warned by House Republicans to abandon a section of his bill that he said addressed civil unions. Some GOP attorneys had said the language in that section could have banned common-law marriages, domestic-partner benefits, power-of-attorney contracts, living wills and other contracts.

The bill went to the House floor Monday as simply a definition of marriage. Mr. Chisum's proposed addition of a ban on civil unions worded slightly differently from the version that nearly killed the whole amendment in committee passed the House with an overwhelming majority.

The current version, Mr. Chisum and other supporters said, does not affect the contracts at issue. But Democrats, saying that the state attorney general had yet to issue an opinion on the new language, weren't so sure.


So. As a constitutional amendment, it could only be undone by another amendment, meaning that some day in the future, a minority of 1/3 plus one could ensure that this form of discrimination could not be repealed. Any municipality that might have wanted to pass a law allowing civil unions would be thwarted. And the cherry on the sundae is the possibility that all sorts of existing contracts and legal arrangements could be rendered null and void. All this and we still don't have an agreement on a budget or school finance.

There is one minor consolation at this time:


For the ban to be incorporated in the Texas Constitution, it must next be approved by 21 of 31 senators. Chisum said no senator has agreed to sponsor the bill in the upper chamber. If approved by the Legislature, the ban must also be approved by a majority of Texas voters Nov. 8.

If this sucker ever makes it to a ballot, it will get approved, so the last bastion of hope is the Senate. I can't say there are 11 solid No votes against it, so I can only hope that the upper chamber is too busy to take it up. I'm a little surprised that someone like Tommy Williams isn't on board as a sponsor, but hey, I'll take my blessings where I can.

The LGRL has more info. Doing yeoman's work following this crapper through the process were PinkDome (here, here, here, and here), and In the Pink (here, here, and here).

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 25, 2005 to That's our Lege | TrackBack
Comments

We're still stunned.

Posted by: PinkDome on April 25, 2005 11:42 PM

Wouldn't it be on the ballot this fall with all the other Constitutional amendments, not affecting next year's elections?

Posted by: Karl-T on April 26, 2005 12:06 AM

A quibble: in the quoted passage:


The measure would change the Texas Constitution's Bill of Rights to define marriage as "a union between one man and one woman." Fourteen states have similar constitutional bans.
>>

The text does not describe a ban; it describes a definition which is the same one I can find in any dictionary for monogomous marriage. (I suppose it is a ban of polygamous marriage.)

It is in the next paragraph I see an actual ban:


Mr. Chisum's measure would also prevent the state or any city or county from creating or recognizing "any legal status identical or similar to marriage." He called that a pre-emptive strike against any future Legislature allowing civil unions, which afford all the legal benefits of marriage for same-sex couples.
>>

In this case banning same-sex unions. Same-sex marriage is a hot topic but a lot of it is word play (such as polls whereby a strong majority oppose gay marriage but are lukewarm about civil unions, nearly identical practical matters).

Posted by: B. K. Oxley (binkley) on April 26, 2005 8:00 AM

Yes, on November 18 of this year I believe. The exact date is in the bill text.

Posted by: Bobby Apperson on April 26, 2005 8:54 AM

Chuck, thanks for posting the list of shame. It's helpful to see it in one place.

Posted by: Ellen on April 26, 2005 9:42 AM

This ongoing mess is disgusting - and watching from San Francisco I feel for everyone in Texas. Just a thought - what would happen if LGBTs left unfriendly states in favor of friendly ones? Aside from perhaps viewed as retreating - I hear a lot how we have much more disposable income, better average education, etc. would we have a big enough economic impact that would change things? At the end of the day money always talks loudest.

As an aside - I was talking with a friend today about living in SF and why I have no desire to live anywhere else (I was born here) and people are always amazed that I really haven't travelled the US or even outside - to which I reply - I live in SF - I don't leave for the same reason people keep coming here...to get away from where they're from. Keep up the fight!

Posted by: Adam on June 1, 2005 5:34 PM

This is a good piece of legislation. I will definitely be voting yes this November.

Posted by: John on September 20, 2005 2:01 PM