What do we want?
A sane and compassionate law which recognizes the heart-and-soul unions of same-sex Texans!
When do we want it?
How soon is now?
But marriage equality is a tough row to hoe down here in the land of beers, steers, and (heck, yes!) queers, where Bible Belt conservatism rides roughshod over the better angels of our nature. Unfortunately, HJR 6 (also called the Marriage Amendment), passed and ratified by our state and ourselves in 2005, prevents LGBT Texans from making honest people of each other in a legal sense. This embarrassing inequity in Texas’s marriage laws surely can’t stand forever, though … can it?
“It is very similar in some ways to racial discrimination in marriage laws,” says Molly McKay, Media Director for Marriage Equality USA. “California reversed those laws preventing Americans of different races from marrying in 1948, and some states followed suit, `but it wasn’t` until 1967 `Loving v. Virginia` that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws in 16 remaining states” `Ed. note: including Texas. Sigh.` … “`after` more and more states started following California’s lead, and it became obvious that the law was out of step with American Constitutional precepts of civil rights.”
The LGBT marriage-equality movement will advance faster, McKay hopes. “It’s a strategy not just of court battles … but we are also seeing a number of state legistatures moving forward.”
To wit, Representative Garnet Coleman of Houston tried his best, and in March introduced HJR 131, a joint resolution to amend HJR 6. Unfortunately, the nascent bill died in committee.
So what’s it gonna take, Texas? Sadly, as with much legal protection for minorities (see voting rights, educational desegregation, et al.), it’ll likely take the Supremes to fix our wagon.
“There are several good hooks to challenge `marriage inequality` in the Supreme Court,” says Equality Texas Political Director Randall Terrell, including the Lawrence v. Texas right-to-privacy ruling, a possible repeal of DoMA (the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act), which would make same-sex marriages granted in progressive states legal in other states (and which repeal, incidentally, was part of President Obama’s platform), and the unconstitutionality of California’s Prop 8 on equal-rights and due-process bases. “But I don’t think it’ll necessarily take the United States Supreme Court to make it happen in Texas. The `2009 Texas` Lyceum Poll showed that 93 percent of single women and 59 percent of evangelicals approve of gay marriage.”
He adds, “San Antonio’s a great place for same-sex couples to start a family. It even has the highest number of same-sex couples raising children through second-parent adoption. It’s all about family down here, and people are less and less willing to discriminate against their friends and loved ones.”