In a brief filed Monday Attorney General Greg Abbott said the state's ban on same sex marriage is constitutional because it promotes child birth in “stable, lasting relationships.”
This come after he denied accepting over 5,700 petitions asking him to stop defending the state's ban in court.
Abbott has been defending the state's 2005 ban vigorously even as mainstream views have changed tremendously over the past decade, and courts continue to strike them down state by state — including Texas'. Abbott maintains that he will continue to fight in support of the ban because it is the law, but his brief proves he is actively promoting discrimination against same-sex couples.
See what Abbott said below the jump…
“Because same-sex relationships do not naturally produce children, recognizing same-sex marriage does not further these goals to the same extent that recognizing opposite-sex marriage does,” the brief reads. “That is enough to supply a rational basis for Texas's marriage laws.”
If producing and raising children is the “rational basis” for marriage then it seems he is suggesting that only child-bearing opposite-sex couples should be allowed to wed, or that single mothers should be marrying their baby's father. There is a lot wrong with Abbott's argument and the burden is on him to prove a detriment to society or a compelling state interest in over regulating the institution of marriage. Until then it looks like he is using his religious beliefs to enact public policy against individuals wishes.
Where he gets the idea that same sex relationships are more unstable than opposite-sex relationships is also unclear. Opposite-sex couples in the US don't have the best track record of keeping their vows 'til death do them part. Divorce is on the rise, particularly Abbott's own generation of Baby Boomers. Divorce rates overall are down in Texas but so are marriages (from 10.5 per 1,000 residents in 1990 to 7.1 in 2011).
Texas also leads the nation in repeat teen pregnancy, so many of these “naturally produc[ed]children” are not actually being produced in any type of marriage, and there are many same sex couples who would love to adopt them.
Abbott has been defending the state's 2005 ban vigorously even as mainstream views have changed tremendously over the past decade, and courts continue to strike them down — including Texas'. Abbott maintains that he will continue to fight for the state's constitution regardless of the merits of the challenge itself, and it's becomes transparent that he is not morally conflicted by both claiming to promote marriage and simultaneously denying it to an entire demographic of Texans.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Abbott's office said it wasn't “about the question of who decides.” It said Texas voters approved the referendum by large margins and deserved to decide whether to keep it.
The problem for Abbott is every Texan has a right to equal protection under the law, and as Attorney General that should be his top priority. A citizen's constitutional rights should never be subject to popular opinion.
Sign Equality Texas' petition for marriage equality.
Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.