Wednesday's ruling from U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, that Texas' 2005 ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, elicited a wide range of response from statewide candidates. GOP candidates scorned “activist judges” and a usurping of the electorate, while Democrats hailed the decision as a victory for equality, personal freedom and the US Constitution.
The most epic reaction of them all has to be a “twittertypo” by State Senator Dan Patrick running for Lt. Governor. He tweeted in all caps glory, “MARRIAGE= ONE MAN & ONE MAN. Enough of these activist judges.” Soon after he “fixed” the tweet, he sent another that read, “oops! #twittertypo. We have a new job opening on our campaign: social media intern. Send resume to contact (at) danpatrick.org.” In the past Patrick says he does about 90% of his own tweeting so it interesting that one of his most important and timely tweets would have been relegated to an intern.
See how other top candidates reacted below the jump…Current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, whose job Patrick is gunning for, said, “I am insisting that the state of Texas appeal this ruling to protect our time-tested, traditional Texas values.” Dewhurst is in another primary battle that will likely lead to a runoff and has been trying to shore up is conservative cred since losing to Ted Cruz in his bid for U.S. Senate, and more recently claims that he allowed for the creation of the star that is Wendy Davis.
Rick Perry released the following official statement from the Governor's office:
Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens. The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn't be achieved at the ballot box.
The man trying to replace Perry, who happens to be our Attorney General, was also Wednesday's biggest loser. Greg Abbott released a less forceful statement that even had a hint of sympathy for those whose tax dollars he is using against them.
“This is an issue on which there are good, well-meaning people on both sides. And, as the lower court acknowledged today, it's an issue that will ultimately be resolved by a higher court. Texas will begin that process by appealing today's ruling to the Fifth Circuit,”
Even though Abbott's statement was less vitriolic, it is important to note that he is leading the charge to defend marriage discrimination and willing to do so all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The whole love of freedom and the U.S. Constitution seems to go out the window for the GOP when it disagrees with how someone chooses to exercise those protected liberties. What Abbott and his colleagues fail to acknowledge is that states cannot make laws that violate the US Constitution. In this case, it is every American's 14th Amendment right to “equal protection under the law.”
In his order Judge Garcia said, “Today's court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent…Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.”
Senator Leticia Van De Putte, whose brother-in-law was the ruling Judge, released the following statement:
There's a growing movement to apply the law equally to everyone without prejudice. And I welcome it, because that's who we are at our best. Nothing about this interferes with communities of faith. Given today's Texas decision, along with federal courts in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and other states, I hope this issue is resolved quickly by the Supreme Court so that the government no longer dictates our private lives.
Senator Wendy Davis gave her nod of support for Garcia's decision as well saying, “I believe that all Texans who love one another and are committed to spending their lives together should be allowed to marry.”
The GOP refrain has been to parrot the results of the 2005 vote where more than 3/4s of Texans voted to define marriage as between one man and one woman, but it dismisses major changes in public opinion since that time. A poll released in 2013 by Equality Texas showed that a plurality of Texans support marriage equality and over a majority support many of the legal benefits of marriage but without adorning the title. Chuck Smith the Executive Director for Equality Texas said, “Its reflective of what is happening across the nation, and Texas is not excluded from that.”
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