According to the Quorum Report (4/25/04), -- “Rep. Sefronia Thompson (D-Houston) asked, tongue-in-cheek, whether Chisum also was willing to outlaw adultery, fornication and incest, which were all threats to marriage. She later gave a fiery speech paralleling the intolerance against gay marriage with the intolerance against interracial marriage of her childhood. Thompson told the House that HJR 6 was about hate and fear and discrimination.
"I know something about hate and fear and discrimination. When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about ‘protecting the institution of marriage’ as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree," Thompson said. "That's what the white folks did back then to ‘protect marriage.’ Fifty years ago, white folks thought inter-racial marriages were a ‘threat to the institution of marriage.’"
This is sad. I imagine that the Supreme Court will ultimately weigh in on this issue of legalized discrimination in Texas. -Angela
House approves gay-marriage ban
Proposed constitutional amendment still needs Senate, voter approval.
By Michelle M. Martinez
> Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Efforts to add a ban on gay marriage to the state constitution advanced Monday when the Texas House of Representatives approved the measure with a necessary two-thirds vote.
Critics were particularly concerned about an amendment to the resolution that they say would ban gay and straight couples from civil unions.
In Texas, same-sex marriages are forbidden, and civil unions are not recognized.
The 101 members who voted in favor of the resolution, which was sponsored by Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, would let Texas voters decide whether the constitution should be amended to say that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
"The Texas Legislature continues to push policies that hurt real Texas families by denying children of placement in loving homes and by closing the door on loving, committed couples from the ability to care for one another and their family," said Heath Riddles, communications director for the Lesbian-Gay Rights Lobby of Texas.
Riddles was referring to a House amendment that was tacked on to a Child Protective Services reform bill last week. That amendment, by Rep. Robert Talton, R-Pasadena, would ban gays and lesbians from being foster parents.
The bill voted on Monday must be approved one more time before it can clear the House and go to the Senate, where it will need approval from two-thirds of the senators to pass. It then would need to be approved by voters.
In 2003, lawmakers made marriage between two people of the same sex and civil unions void in Texas. That measure included a provision that the state would not recognize such unions. When the Legislature passed the bill, also known as the Defense of Marriage Act, state law already prohibited issuing marriage licenses to people of the same sex.
The bill approved Monday would take the issue a step further by amending the constitution — if voters approve. If the Senate agrees, the measure would be put on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Chisum said the move to put the language in the constitution would help should a legal challenge to the marriage act arise.
"I think it's something that's going around in the different areas, and we can prevent all of that by putting this into the constitution, by placing that question in front of the people of the state," Chisum said.
Fifteen states have constitutional amendments defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman, and voters in three others have yet to decide.
Some lawmakers questioned Chisum's motive for wanting to amend the constitution and accused him of playing politics.
"I want the body to clearly understand here that we are not doing anymore with this amendment than what exists now in the state of Texas," Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said before abstaining from the vote. "We are making a political statement just for the point of making the statement."
Lawmakers were particularly concerned about the amendment that says the state or a political subdivision of the state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage. The proposal would ban civil unions in the state, but there was some confusion as to the effects it would have on common-law marriages. Chisum assured lawmakers it would not affect such marriages.
Kelly Shackelford, president of the Free Market Foundation, agreed. He said the amendment was meant to prevent a situation such as the one in California, where the legislature passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman and then created domestic partnerships — not considered marriages — for same-sex couples.
"The other side has been very ingenious in trying to do end runs around the people's wishes," said Shackelford, whose Plano organization pushes for less government, lower taxes and "solid family values."
Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, said the measure limits the rights of all unmarried Texans and is a diversion from the real issues facing families.
"It will do nothing to lower property taxes, fully fund our public schools, provide health insurance for children of the working poor and protect abused and neglected kids," she said in a prepared statement. "Shameful votes like this one . . . are designed simply to play politics at the expense of a vulnerable minority in our state."
Find this article at: