(x-posted to fyre, austinpolitics, houstontx, texas_lesbians, pride_of_texas, [Bad username: houston_politics], gay_south, gayaustin, easttexasgsa, dfwtx, beaumont, austinpoly, austindykes, alief_tx. Please continue to post this across LJ to any community dealing with Texas that may find this of interest, and does not have a rule against political posts.)
May 21, 2005 Contact: Heath Riddles
For Immediate Release 512.474.5475
AUSTIN, TX- A historically dangerous and discriminatory constitutional amendment is headed to Texas voters. The Anti-Gay Texas Marriage Amendment (HJR 6) passed the Texas Senate this afernoon. The amendment was approved by a vote of 21 to 8, narrowly meeting the two-thirds majority required.
Upon approval by the Senate, the amendment is now cleared to appear on a statewide ballot this November. This will mark the first time in history that a minority group would be singled out in the Texas Constitution to be denied equal treatment. Constitutions are historically treated as sacred documents, designed to preserve rights and ensure equality for all.
Randall Ellis, Executive Director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, says the amendment is dangerous. "This amendment is devastating to thousands of Texas families, gay and straight alike," Ellis said. "Domestic partner benefits, powers of attorney, and even common law marriage will be called into question by this amendment. These are consequences that are supposedly unintended, according to the amendment's authors. But this is clearly a discriminatory act, designed to strike at our community at its fundamental level: our families. The Legislature is obviously willing to sacrifice all Texas families for this unjust agenda of intolerance and discrimination."
Marriage affords hundreds of legal rights, responsibilities and obligations, including the ability to visit a spouse in the hospital, social security benefits, second parent adoptions and many more. These are denied to thousands of loving, committed gay and lesbian couples across Texas, many of them raising families of their own.
This amendment would, in effect, solidify LGBT Texans' status as second-class citizens.
Senators Barrientos, Ellis, Hinojosa, Shapleigh, Van de Putte, West, Whitmire and Zaffirini voted against the Anti-Gay Texas Marriage Amendment.
( More information on HJR-6...Collapse )
( Some FAQs about the amendment...Collapse )
( Quick Fact Sheet on HJR 6Collapse )
This is a dangerous amendment, ladies and gentlemen, that opens up our state for major legal ramifications in the future - epsecially where discrimination is concerned. People may even be able to successfully argue that since it is constitutionally okay for the state to discriminate against a group of people (or even individuals within that group), it is legally okay for an individual to discriminate against the same group of people/individuals within that group.
Please realize, as well, that this amendment does not only affect gay and lesbian Texans, but also straight Texans. Any straight Texan who is currently in a civil union will find that union abolished upon the passing of this amendment, as there is no grandfathering clause built in - nor are there any laws on the record allowing for grandfathering. Plus, by the very definition of the amendment, all those who are in a common-law marriage would potentially find themselves unable to receive the benefits, rights, and priviledges they are currently entitled to, unless they procured a marriage license and had a ceremony, OR obtained expensive legal contracts which may still not guarentee things. Common-law marriage is NOT marriage, it is a "legal status" that is "identical or similar to" marriage.
While there are technically no guarentees anywhere saying that Texans (or - for that matter, any United States Citizen) have the right to marry who they choose, the United States Constitution guarentees us the right to "...life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..." This amendment would take away those inallienable human rights from all homosexuals, and some heterosexuals.
Vote NO on HJR 6, when you go to the polls.
Thank you for your time, and my apologies for the massive cross-post.