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August 23, 2005

HJR 6 = Hate Amendment = Proposition 2

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Nonsensical legislating now has a name: Proposition 2.

The ballot order was selected by pulling slips of paper from a cookie jar. The enacting legislation, HJR 6, was of course pulled out of Warren Chisum’s ass.

Two years ago, just 12 percent of registered voters cast ballots in an election that gave constitutional authority to the Legislature to limit certain awards in civil lawsuits. About 7 percent voted in the 2001 constitutional amendment election.

"It's a matter of the simple issue of educating voters that no matter where they stand on these issues, the constitution is not the place to be having a social debate," said Glen Maxey, director of No Nonsense in November.

This is the battle folks, one which we can win thanks only to the unique circumstances presented to us in an election with nothing else grabbing people’s attention. Because it’s certainly not going to be any of the other mind-numbing amendments.

Among the eight other propositions on this fall's ballot is one that would allow the Legislature to define interest rates for commercial loans and another that would authorize the denial of bail for a suspect who violates a condition of his or her release pending trial.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at August 23, 2005 12:32 AM | TrackBack

Comments

Would be nice if the voters had the right to approve gay marriage if they wanted to rather than fight a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

It's a win-win for the religious right because if the amendment fails, they will still have the law on the books that bans gay marriage. So what purpose does it serve but to further hatred and what kind of people want to legislate hate?

I guess we will find out in November.

Posted by: Baby Snooks at August 23, 2005 01:32 AM

I will vote against this amendment mainly because it also bans civil unions.

That said, if you honestly hold out any hope that Prop. 2 will be defeated through low turnout you are absolutely out of your mind. Turnout for this hot-button issue will be higher than the 12% in 2003 for tort reform.

How can (some) Democrats attribute Bush's 2004 victory to increased turnout by the right on ballot initiatives like this one and then hope to defeat Prop. 2 with low turnout?

Posted by: Kent at August 23, 2005 10:22 AM

Before I'm accosted for wanting to deny rights to homosexuals, let me point out single heterosexuals do not entertain the benefits of marriage either. Should the institution of marriage therefore be absolved in the name of "equality"? That is, afterall, the logical terminus of the GLBT community's argument that HJR 6 denies rights to certain individuals.

All men and women are afforded the same right to marry a person of the opposite sex. Indeed that was not always the case when laws prohibiting interracial marriage existed. But equating homosexual to interraicial marriage fundamentally changes the etymology of marriage.

Who first performed marraiges? Not the JPs. Priests, bishops, cardinals, etc. It was a religous ceremony performed by the church, not the state. Yes, people will argue that religion and the state coexisted as one in the same, and claim this point to be moot, but I stress this to convey a conservative's understanding of what what liberals don't understand about conservatives:

Marriage to conservatives will always be more highly valued than heterosexual unions because it's rooted in something deeper than modern-day understandings of love and relationships. It's rooted in belief and consequently the perception of reality.

Conservatives believe "homosexual marriage" cheapens and devalues the commitment of a man and a woman made before God, a commitment symbolizing the union of God and the Church.
(I'm not asking you to buy into that, at least not yet. I'm just trying to explain the beliefs system that makes up the prevalent conservative attitude toward marriage.)

So to propose that marriage is a right that should be offered to homosexuals is an attack on conservative beliefs. It's a challenge to how conservatives perceive reality. To be sure, questions demanding this kind of critical thought can produce dramatic advances in civilization, and it's no secret conservatives are reluctant to engage in such debate. Conservatives weren't the ones saying the earth is round.

To be honest, much of the liberal criticism of conservatives is not without merit. Not enough conservatives have the confidence, nor the skill to comfortably defend their beliefs. If there's something liberals could capitalize upon and that conservatives must improve upon, it's the framing of a "reality-based community."

Conservatives will continue to frame policy issues using values questions. And I believe the tactic will continue to resonate among voters. Values can similarly be used to frame the war on terrorism (though the administration has done a poor job of projecting this to the public). Making the connection between liberals and terrorists is easy then:

"they" have different values. (Side note, I just watched the National Geographic special Inside 9/11 last night. Watch it.) The final scene quotes Bin Laden saying something along the lines of:

"The difference between the infidels and us is they value life. We value death."

There's a lot of PC bull about tolerance and acceptance. The above quote should demonstrate how absurd it would be to accept a world-view that values death over life. Obviously the "worth" of the 9/11 hijackers was limited to the death they could cause to others.

So where do conservatives draw the values line? When does tolerance and acceptance of another's values become too much to bear for a conservative? Ask them what they value and likely they'll likely give the same response as any liberal - family, friends, happiness, hard work and pursuing dreams. Making a difference in the world and in the lives of others. And lastly, faith.

At core, I believe most of us (conservatives and liberals) live our lives by doing what we value. Show up for work. Pay taxes. Take care of family and friends. Comply (usually) with the law. If we see injustice, we take offense.

Whether or not you agree with the need for HJR 6, we can likely agree it challenges the values of two separate groups against each other. One group says I don't see the value of heterosexual marriage. The other says I don't see the value of a homosexual marriage. Count me among the latter.

Posted by: user800 at August 23, 2005 11:31 AM

For the last time, "User800," the Marriage Amendment is not about preventing gay people from getting married. It's about writing discrimination against a class of people into our Constitution. Constitutions are documents that historically liberate people and not make them into second class citizens. Texas continues to take giant steps backward and we can thank bigots and opportunistic Republicans who want to win elections in 2006 on the backs of LGBT Texans.

Posted by: Marie at August 23, 2005 12:28 PM

Marie, evidently you don't understand the historical and present-day functioning of a constitution. By definition a constitution must discriminate and define rights, otherwise we are left with no definition of free speech, due process, suffrage, impeachment, etc.

The Texas Constitution provides plenty examples of discrimination. Article 6, Section 1 states, "The following classes of persons shall not be allowed to vote in this State..." Article 15, Section 3 says, "When the Senate is sitting as a Court of Impeachment, the Senator shall be on oath, or affirmation impartially to try the party impeached, and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senators present." It discriminates to provide a definition of impeachment. The First Amendment of the US Constitution defines the right to free speech by prohibiting Congress from enacting or enforcing any laws to the contrary.

Indeed, constitutional definitions can be ill-advised, as was the 1787 three-fifths compromise, which provided that slaves be counted as 3/5 of a person. But it makes me physically ill to hear you assert GLBTs as a "class." I don't have any more rights as a heterosexual than a homosexual. I'm not taxed any more or less, nor am I entitled to any special privileges not concurrently afforded to a homosexual.

It's about the definition of marriage.

Posted by: user800 at August 23, 2005 04:06 PM

"Before I'm accosted for wanting to deny rights to homosexuals, let me point out single heterosexuals do not entertain the benefits of marriage either."

This may be true but heterosexuals have an option that is denied to homosexuals. Whether you call it civil union or marriage, the reality is that two people of the same sex who wish to build financial security for themselves as a couple do not have the same protections and rights under the law, any law, that two people of the opposite sex do. If that is not discrimination, I don't know what would be. Relationship is defined by the word committment. Not the X and Y chromosome joining together in a ceremony.

The analogy of interracial marriage is always the wrong one to use. The arguments that were made against interracial marriage are the same ones that are being made against homosexual marriage. That it is against "God's law."

Some of us simply do not believe in "God's law" and believe instead in the Constitution. I do not see where the Founding Fathers said that "God's law" was to be the law of the land. If anything, they said it was not to be the law of the land and while the Constitution guaranteed freedom of religion, it also guaranteed freedom from religion. We haven't gotten that yet for some reason. If we had, Pat Robertson would be in jail this afternoon for making terroristic threats. Instead he is being hailed by quite a few "Christians" who will also go to the polls in Texas and constitutionalize hatred and homophobia as acceptable standards of morality.

People who support theocracy should go live in Iran and see what it's like to be told absolutely what you can and cannot do, what you can and cannot wear, what you can and cannot say, what you can and cannot watch, what you can and cannot think, and what you can and cannot believe in.

As the Bible says, "if thine eye offends thee, pluck it out." Your eye. Not someone else's.

Posted by: Baby Snooks at August 23, 2005 04:10 PM

Baby Snooks,

"This may be true but heterosexuals have an option that is denied to homosexuals." No. Nowhere does HJR 6 state that homosexuals can't marry. It says they can't marry each other.

A homosexual could have a sham marriage and shack up with a same-sex partner. I'm sure at least one such instance exists right now in Texas. It's antithetical to how most conservatives view marriage, but the point still stands: technically you can get married.

If anyone has it, would they please post a link to the list of ... 100(?) rights/privileges married couples have that homosexuals do not. Thought I saw it linked on BOR... I'd be interested in reviewing/discussing those.

Posted by: User800 at August 23, 2005 04:32 PM

"This may be true but heterosexuals have an option that is denied to homosexuals." No. Nowhere does HJR 6 state that homosexuals can't marry. It says they can't marry each other."

If they can't marry each other, then they don't have the same option.

Posted by: Baby Snooks at August 23, 2005 05:00 PM

Don't patronize me. Gay people are being targeted by this amendment. I'm sure you'd feel the heat if there were a Constitutional Amendment to ban ignorance and bigotry. You're a bigot. The Republican leadership that has forced this debate are not only bigots, they are self-hating hypocrites, and that is the irony of this stupidity.

Posted by: Marie at August 23, 2005 05:07 PM

"But it makes me physically ill to hear you assert GLBTs as a 'class.'"

This comment alone is enough to show your true feelings and attitudes towards GLBT people. If GLBT people make you "ill," then explain to me how this isn't about your dislike of homosexuals but rather "about the definition of marriage"?

Who will protect GLBT people from you? I'd vote for that!

Posted by: Jason at August 23, 2005 06:38 PM

Final Score on Prop 2:

Yes - 75%

No - 25%

Because afterall, this is TEXAS.

Posted by: Toasty at August 23, 2005 10:01 PM

Final Score on Prop 12:

Yes-51%
No- 49%

Because afterall, this was TEXAS.

Everyone thought that was going to pass with 55-60%. Also $25 mil was spent on the issue, which is nowhere close to the pittance in camparions that will be spent on this one. If total spending on both sides broke $3 mil I'd be suprised.

Posted by: Karl-T at August 24, 2005 12:34 AM

"But it makes me physically ill to hear you assert GLBTs as a "class.""

It makes me physically ill to hear someone assert that they're not. They are by federal standard a class of people per the Hate Crime Reporting Act of 1990. There is also a standard with regard to civil rights violations involving "actual or perceived" sexual orientation although I'm not aware of any attorney in the country forcing the issue with the Justice Department. But they are a "class" by definition and have been for some time. Some people just prefer to believe they are not. Courts throughout the country are upholding their Constitutional protetions and rights under the law as a class and in the Supreme Court decision on the Colorado issue of the right to discriminate based on sexual orientation under Amendment 2, their protections and rights under the law were upheld by the Supreme Court.

You apparently have an issue with gays and lesbians and anyone who has an "alternative state of being" as I prefer to call it.

Our esteemed governor suggested that gays and lesbians who wanted to marry should move elsewhere. I think people who just don't like gays and lesbians and anyone with an "alternative state of being" should admit it and then move elsewhere. Although I'm not sure there is anywhere to move where you would not be subjected to this "class" of people whom you don't like.

Of course Rick Perry has a personal beef against the gay community. Has to do with a rumor put out on the internet about his wife having caught him in bed with the Secretary of State. I believe the rumor was posted in BOR as well.

The chairman of the Texas Democratic Party certainly didn't help matters by making public reference to the rumor. I suspect the rumor may come back to haunt some people after the primary. What some thought was fun in great part contributed to the rabidness of Rick Perry.

As for the general public, I have great faith in fellow Texans not approving any form of legislated discrimination against anyone and I have great faith in Glen Maxey being able to defeat it. Despite your and others' "logical and rational" arguments that have no real basis in constitutional law which is what Proposition 2 is really all about. If it is not defeated, I suspect the Supreme Court will rule against it as it ruled against Amendment 2 in Colorado. With the same dissent by Antonin Scalia. Who just doesn't like gays and lesbians and anyone with an "alternative state of being." I suspect he doesn't really even like himself. Bigots usually don't.

Posted by: Baby Snooks at August 24, 2005 01:18 AM

http://www.gao.gov/archive/1997/og97016.pdf

This is a link to a GAO archive of a letter sent to Henry Hyde in 1997 which lists 1,049 federal laws that are related to protections and rights determined by marital status. Which deny those protections and rights to gays and lesbians. Those are federal laws. There are also quite a few state laws as well. While the courts have begun finally to address the discrimination, the laws for the most part which allow the discrimination to continue remain on the books.

In an ideal world, there is no discrimination. In the real world, it permeates every aspect of our lives. I am always amazed by people who have previously been victimized by discrimination supporting discrimination against others.

The worst of these are women who for the most part in Texas had very few rights under the law until the Family Law Code was revised in 1972. Prior to that Texas had what is called "Chattel Law" which basically stated that wives and children belonged to the husband and father. Some would say women still have few rights under the law. Just the appearance that they do.

There may be other lists of laws which allow discrimination based on marital status. This one in itself is pretty sufficient as far as I'm concerned. 1,049 bases by which to discriminate. All of them being emphasized by the hatred and homophobia that permeates our society at this point. A knee-jerk reaction to two Supreme Court decisions that were made on the basis of what our Constitution guarantees all of us. Without qualification and without discrimination.

Posted by: Baby Snooks at August 24, 2005 07:07 PM

Is it just me, or does the language of this proposed amendment prohibit domestic partnerships between heterosexual as well as homosexual couples? Read it: "...and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage." If the object of this amendment is to "define marriage as the union of one man and one woman," how does this portion of the amendment relate to such a definition? What does "similar to marriage" mean -- don't we need a definition for that, too? What about a union between two hermaphrodites? There's this, too: can a state adopt constitutional language which denies citizens the rights assured by the U.S. constitution (such as equal protection of the law)? Just wondering.

Posted by: D.G. at October 10, 2005 09:35 AM

The constitutional amendment not only denies marriage and civil unions to homosexuals but also denies heterosexual people from leaving something to a person of the same sex, ie. power of attorney or buying a home together will be dissolved. Not everyone who has a companion of the same sex is homosexual but this amendment will make sure that those people are also stripped of rights.
For the record, I believe that as American citizens we are afforded the freedoms to make our own decisions about whom we marry, even if that includes someone of the same sex. Regardless of what a church decides, the legal recognition should not be compromised, I am a supporter of the separation of church and state as was our forefathers.
All Americans should be equal under the LAW, PERIOD!

Posted by: michelle at October 22, 2005 03:52 PM

I’m just shooting spitwads here, but……

I can see how the right wants to protect marriage and I believe that to some extent some respect should be paid to that belief system. When you bring up proposition 2 to a conservative and ask them why gay marriage is offensive, it’s not because they are afforded the same financial and legal privileges of heterosexuals per se, it’s because of religious belief. Gay marriage is sacrilege. And before I get asked, YES, I believe that there are a lot of conservatives bigoted enough to think homosexuals should be persecuted financially, but this is such a reprehensible stand that I don’t want to deal with it here….. What I’m saying is that the fundamental reason for denying homosexuals the legal right to marry is religious, and therefore, marriage itself is something that should not be afforded legal privilege for the sake of separation of church and state…….

I think that our fundamental issue is that rights afforded married couples crosses that separation line, and the gay rights issue brings that to the forefront. No one wants to consider the possibility that legal marriage is in and of itself a violation of one of the foundations of this country (separation of church and state), and that we have a much uglier issue to deal with… the idea that in order to be consistent, and in order to resolve this issue justly, we should revoke the legal privileges of marriage in general, and let it’s role in the community start and end in church. For this would throw all sorts of legal institutions out of whack, (social security benefits, life insurance legal precedence, etc).

And yes this may all seem radical but just sleep on it a while. I can see both sides of the issue, and it always comes down to one thing for me, Marriage is a religious institution, and it is also a legal institution, and unfortunately those two worlds have different definitions and are bound by different higher principals (the bible as interpreted by anti gay marriage churches, vs. the constitution). Furthermore, those two definitions can’t coexist under the principal of separation of church and state. If the religious right can’t be flexible with their definition of marriage, allowing that it is by a different definition a legal institution allowed to all…….. EVEN those that shouldn’t be allowed under their religious definition, then legal marriage needs to be stricken from the law books.

P.S. article 2 of the proposition does protect power of attorney, michelle. But is irrelevant due to the fact that Texas Supreme Court decisions have held that judges can only decide on what the actual constitutional text is, not legislative intent.

Posted by: Hugh at November 7, 2005 03:10 PM
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