Same Sex Marriage Could Lead To Polygamy & Incest Says Dan Patrick, Ken Paxton & 61 GOP Legislators

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On the same day a petition to repeal a measure granting transgender equality failed in Houston, 63 GOP state legislators signed an amicus brief stating that same-sex marriage could lead to legal recognition of polygamy, incest and pedophelia.

The group of Republican signatories are members of the Texas Conservative Coalition and include 2 state Senators nominated for statewide office, Dan Patrick running for Lt. Gov. and Ken Paxton running for Attorney General.

The brief was filed in support of gubernatorial candidate and current AG Greg Abbott who is defending the state’s ban on same sex marriage after it was struck down earlier this year.

The editorial board of the Dallas Morning News wrote this week that Abbott’s new argument that state government has an interest in promoting heterosexual marriages because of procreation “treads heavily” on liberty.

Abbott argues that opposite sex marriage “increases the likelihood” of producing and raising children in “stable, lasting relationships,” and  “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. That is enough to supply a rational basis for Texas’s marriage laws.”

This is irrational on its face for several reasons. Not all married opposite gender couples can produce children, Texas still has one of the highest (unwed) teen pregnancy rates, and single individuals (including homosexual ones) can still adopt children, and that is all before mentioning that the divorce rate of opposite sex couples hovers near 50%.

    “When social policy does not invoke a fundamental right or target a suspect class, then regulations challenged under the Fourteenth Amendment invoke only rational basis review. Accordingly, due process challenges to Texas’s marriage laws invoke only rational basis review, not strict scrutiny…Finally, Texas’s marriage laws survive rational basis review. Under rational basis, Texas’s marriage laws need only be rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest.”

When the Dallas Morning News said Abbott was pulling at “legal straws” they weren’t kidding around. The fact that they reiterate that the law doesn’t have to pass the “strict scrutiny” test by the court should be enough to let any fair-minded person know that they are treading on thin ground with their argument.

There is no “legitimate governmental interest,” only a political one. The GOP is more than willing to abandon its most sacred principles of limited government and “sensible regulation” if it achieves its political ends.

    “…the state interest in regulation of marriage and domestic relations necessarily includes an interest in same-sex marriage. The majority opinion in Windsor even leaves room for prohibitions on same-sex marriage as long as they are enacted for reasons other than imposing inequality. (suggesting that if the “principal purpose” of a same-sex marriage law is for “other reasons like governmental efficiency,” then it may not be unconstitutional)”

The “government efficiency” argument should have went out the window when a report was released that same-sex marriage could bring as much as $182 million into the state’s economy.

The brief also states that, “[t]here is no doubt that the welfare of children is a legitimate state interest.” This sounds more like an argument on behalf of same-sex marriage, otherwise the burden is on the government to explain why they are depriving so many children of a loving home with two parents who love each other. This is particularly significant as the state continues to its failed abstinence only education, attempts to shut down the few remaining abortion clinics, and boasts shameful teen pregnancy statistics.

Now to the worst of it. The brief claims that,

    “If the right to select “partners of their choosing” is the criterion used to invoke marriage as a fundamental right, then marriage restrictions on age, polygamy, and consanguinity are also ripe for challenge.”

It goes on to say,

    “Another ground cited by supporters of Texas’s marriage laws and subsequently dismissed by the district court is that recognition of same-sex marriage “could lead to the recognition of bigamy, incest, pedophilia, and group marriage[.]…As already discussed in this brief, restrictions on marriage relating to these moral considerations remain valid. Thus, the goal of actively trying to prevent those practices from becoming valid is entirely rational public policy.”

This is a horribly anti-intellectual argument and wholly dismissive of the fact that all people deserve equal treatment under the law. They can only pretend to make this case because they reject the fact that non-heterosexuals deserve protection under the 14th Amendment that guarantees them equality under the law. It also allows them to make a gross and inaccurate comparison of non-heterosexuality to pedophelia.

The concept of equality is unfortunately difficult for the Texas GOP to comprehend. If they understand the current law allows them to marry one individual that they chose to marry, then extending equality to homosexual individuals would only grant them the right to marry one individual of their choosing — hence why the movement calls for “marriage equality.”

The brief brought swift condemnation by the Texas Democratic Party and the only openly non-heterosexual members of the legislature:

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa:

    “Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton are running for two of the most prominent and powerful positions in the state of Texas. This brief makes their intentions clear: rather than working towards equality and fairness, Patrick and Paxton want to marginalize, discriminate and spread antiquated ideas about the LGBTQ community in Texas.”Texans deserves leaders who know that love is love, and that it’s time to end the Republican culture of discrimination across our state.”

Texas State Representative Mary Gonzalez:

    “Texas Republicans keep spreading misinformation and lies about the LGBTQ community that only takes our state backward. Every Texan deserves the right to love who they love and its a shame some of my colleagues can’t seem to understand that. This November, we must stand strong and united against this type of hateful rhetoric and elect leaders who will fight for justice and equality for all.”

Texas State Representative Celia Israel:

    “My colleagues in the legislature should be embarrassed. This kind of bigotry belongs to the Mad Men era, not in our Texas. We should be working to welcome more people to our state, not spreading this kind of hateful rhetoric. Texas Democrats believe that diversity is part of what makes our state great and builds stronger communities.”

The position taken by the GOP’s top candidates for state office is not pro-child, it is not pro-family and it represents a policy of active discrimination against Texans who all deserve much better than that.

The Texas Conservative Coalition (TCC) says it “is a legislative caucus, formed in 1985 in order to shape public policy by promoting the organization’s foundational principles of limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise, and traditional values,” I guess it can now scratch “limited government” and “individual liberty” from that description.

Read the full brief here.

Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

h/t Lone Star Q

Full list of signatories:

Brian Birdwell, Texas Senate

Donna Campbell, Texas Senate

Bob Deuell, Texas Senate

Craig Estes, Texas Senate

Troy Fraser, Texas Senate

Kelly Hancock, Texas Senate

Robert Nichols, Texas Senate

Dan Patrick, Texas Senate

Ken Paxton, Texas Senate

Charles Schwertner, Texas Senate

Larry Taylor, Texas Senate

Charles “Doc” Anderson, Texas House of Representatives

Trent Ashby, Texas House of Representatives

Cecil Bell, Jr., Texas House of Representatives

Dwayne Bohac, Texas House of Representatives Case: 14-50196 Document:

Dennis Bonnen, Texas House of Representatives

Greg Bonnen, Texas House of Representatives

Angie Chen Button, Texas House of Representatives

Tom Craddick, Texas House of Representatives

Brandon Creighton, Texas House of Representatives

Myra Crownover, Texas House of Representatives

Gary Elkins, Texas House of Representatives

Pat Fallon, Texas House of Representatives

Allen Fletcher, Texas House of Representatives

Dan Flynn, Texas House of Representatives

James Frank, Texas House of Representatives

John Frullo, Texas House of Representatives

Craig Goldman, Texas House of Representatives

Larry Gonzales, Texas House of Representatives

Lance Gooden, Texas House of Representatives

Linda Harper-Brown, Texas House of Representatives

Harvey Hilderbran, Texas House of Representatives

Bryan Hughes, Texas House of Representatives

Jason Isaac, Texas House of Representatives

Phil King, Texas House of Representatives

Tim Kleinschmidt, Texas House of Representatives

Stephanie Klick, Texas House of Representatives

Lois Kolkhorst, Texas House of Representatives

Matt Krause, Texas House of Representatives

Jodie Laubenberg, Texas House of Representatives

George Lavender, Texas House of Representatives

Jeff Leach, Texas House of Representatives

Tryon Lewis, Texas House of Representatives

Rick Miller, Texas House of Representatives

Geanie Morrison, Texas House of Representatives

Jim Murphy, Texas House of Representatives

Rob Orr, Texas House of Representatives

John Otto, Texas House of Representatives

Tan Parker, Texas House of Representatives

Charles Perry, Texas House of Representatives

Larry Phillips, Texas House of Representatives

Scott Sanford, Texas House of Representatives

Matt Schaefer, Texas House of Representatives

Ralph Sheffield, Texas House of Representatives

Ron Simmons, Texas House of Representatives

John Smithee, Texas House of Representatives

Drew Springer, Texas House of Representatives

Van Taylor, Texas House of Representatives

Ed Thompson, Texas House of Representatives

Steve Toth, Texas House of Representatives

Scott Turner, Texas House of Representatives

James White, Texas House of Representatives

Bill Zedler, Texas House of Representatives

About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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