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marriage equality

GOP Lt. Gov. Candidate Todd Staples Attacks Travis County Judges for Supporting Marriage Equality

by: Katie Singh

Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 11:00 AM CST

For the past 25 years, it has been an Austin tradition to hold free courthouse weddings on Valentine's Day. This year, Travis County Judge Judge John Lipscombe and his wife retired Judge Jan Breland, who were officiating the ceremonies, decided to make the tradition a little more inclusive. The judges offered to perform free commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples, inviting them to share in the loving spirit of the day.

Unfortunately, this didn't sit well with some people, including current Agriculture Commissioner and Republican canididate for Lieutenant Governor Todd Staples. Staples sponsored the amendment to the Texas Constitution that defined marriage as between one man and one woman that was approved by voters in 2005. In the Lt. Gov. race, the amendment has become an important part of Staples' conservative credentials.

Not one to pass up an opportunity to rile up his conservative base before early voting, Staples condemned the Travis County judges' effort to make this Valentine's Day more equal.

Read what Todd Staples had to say about marriage equality after the jump.

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Texas Values President: Rep. Mary Gonzalez Wants to End LGBT Discrimination "Because She is Gay"

by: Joe Deshotel

Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 09:00 AM CST

Texas Values' President Jonathan Saenz is no stranger to levying attacks on openly gay politicians but he went too far when he suggested that state Representative Mary Gonzalez supports scrubbing antiquated laws from the books, requiring public sex education courses to falsely teach that homosexual behavior is "criminal activity," because she is not heterosexual.

Saenz, an avid Greg Abbott supporter, told the San Antonio Express News that, "It should be no surprise that she wants the state to ban students from learning that homosexual conduct is not safe for school-age children and it's sexual conduct that should be discouraged and not promoted in public school." Saenz seems to struggle with the concept of age-appropriate sex education and somehow confuse it with pornographic instruction.

State laws on the books in Texas still mandate public sex education courses teach students that homosexual behavior is "not acceptable" and is "criminal activity." The latter has been false since a 2003 Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas struck down laws against sodomy as unconstitutional.

More below the jump...

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Wendy Davis Comes Out For Marriage Equality, Greg Abbott Defends State's Ban

by: Joe Deshotel

Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:00 PM CST

Photo: Lone Star Q
On Thursday Wendy Davis told the San Antonio Express News editorial board that she supports marriage equality and that her chief Gubernatorial opponent and the state's current Atty. General Greg Abbott should stop defending the state's ban.

Davis said, "It's my strong belief that when people love each other and are desirous of creating a committed relationship with each other that they should be allowed to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation."

There is no compelling government interest to target a minority group for discrimination yet Abbott is currently defending a state constitutional ban that was passed in 2005, just two years after the US Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on sodomy.

Since that time Americans' and more importantly Texans' ideas have shifted on this issue. According to a 2013 poll by Equality Texas a majority of Texans support the state's recognition of same-sex marriages made in state's where it is legal, and over 64% support at least Civil Unions for same-sex couples in Texas.

See what Abbott's response is below the jump...

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Texas Values: Greg Abbott "Stands Up Against Lesbian Mayor" Annise Parker

by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM CST

UPDATED This post has been updated as of 11:45am to include the response of Mayor Parker to attacks on her marriage.

When I read the tweet, "@TxValues: AG @GregAbbott_TX stands up against lesbian Houston Mayor in briefs," the first thing I thought was, "put some pants on Greg!" But, of course there is so much more wrong with this. It clearly uses the term "lesbian" as a pejorative, otherwise Texas Values would have referred to, "heterosexual AG Greg Abbott," or simply and respectfully referred to Parker as Mayor.

Marriage equality has made tremendous progress in the past year and it, dare I say, threatens to come to Texas. Abbott hasn't had the best of luck in the courtroom lately against the federal government, so this time he is arguing that it doesn't even have jurisdiction to hear these cases.

Mayor Parker has pushed for the City of Houston to recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states for purposes of spousal benefits. Suggesting she did this simply because she is "an open lesbian," is not only crude but ignores the fact that most Texans support, by a large margin, extending benefits to same-sex partners of government employees. According to a poll taken last year by Equality Texas, "65.7% of voters support extending domestic partnership benefits to government/public university employees; an increase of 3.4%" over a similar poll taken in 2010. The poll also found a 5.2% increase in support for full marriage equality; transforming a 52% majority against into a 47.9% plurality for.

See more on Abbott's continued assault on local control and the response from Mayor Parker below the jump...

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Dan Patrick Criticized Houston Mayor Annise Parker For Marrying Partner In California

by: Joe Deshotel

Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM CST

Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) criticized Houston Mayor Annise Parker because she and her now wife Kathy Hubbard "eloped" to California to get married while gay marriage remains against the Texas Constitution. "This is obviously part of a larger strategy of hers to turn Texas into California," he said in a press release. Parker had previously stated that she and her longtime partner would wait until Texas legalized gay marriage but Parker told ABC13 that, "The world is changing around us, and hearts can't wait at some point."

Patrick also criticized Parker for waiting, "until after her November election to decree that the City of Houston will recognize same-sex marriages from other states." He concluded by saying, "I fully support the lawsuit challenging Parker's edict and look forward to protecting conservative values as the next Lt. Governor."

See below the jump why Patrick may have spoken too soon...

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Louie Gohmert And Michele Bachmann Share Strange Remarks Over Marriage Equality

by: Omar Araiza

Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 02:00 PM CST

Louie Gohmert shared some rather strange views concerning the recent judges that have ruled in favor of marriage equality in cases brought up challenging several state's marriage bans, most recently in Oklahoma. Gohmert spoke as part of the monthly event, "Conversations with Conservatives," hosted by the Heritage Foundation.

As a fervent opponent of marriage equality (and reason, logic, among other things), Gohmert believes these judges have simply been abusing their power and their interpretation of the law.

Michele Bachmann was also there to share her views on marriage equality.

Read more about their remarks below the jump.

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Same-Sex Marriage Recognition Coming To The High Plains Of Texas

by: Omar Araiza

Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 02:00 PM CDT

B&W Pantex, which operates the Pantex Plant near Amarillo for the Department of Energy, will begin offering benefits to all legally-married employees on January 1, 2014.

B&W Pantex employs 3,200 personnel at the Texas Panhandle facility, disassembling and maintaining the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile.

The company has removed the term "opposite sex" from their HR policy, thus equalizing their benefits plan for legally-married same-sex couples. While same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Texas, employees can present a legal marriage license from any of the 13 states, including the Washington, D.C., where marriage equality has been recognized.

Read more on how Texans have evolved on LGBT rights below the jump.

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Redefining "Tolerance" Can't Make GOP Out To Be Victim In Marriage Discrimination

by: Joe Deshotel

Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 09:00 AM CDT

A new bill proposed by Republicans in Congress will give legal protections to individuals who morally object to marriage equality on the basis of "religious liberty."

Congressional Republicans and state Republicans in Texas have employed a scorched earth policy in the culture wars towards anything resembling a progressive agenda item by the Obama Administration, but in the wake of the apocalyptic rhetoric their harsh stance against marriage-equality threatens any chance to sway a crucial voting bloc -- Millennials.

This is a problem for Republicans for the same reason that Millennials are also the most highly-prized target for advertisers. Why? Because they are opinion makers and trendsetters, and they have the polls to prove it. A Pew Research tracking poll shows that millennials support marriage equality at a rate of 66% and growing, and that pattern of increased support was mimicked by prior generations. The poll also reveals that support for marriage equality is also growing with in the Republican Party and Independents are right in line with Democrats at 57%.

Find out below the jump how Republicans and others like the Heritage Foundation are attempting to redefine the word "tolerance"...

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Texan Candidates in Same-Sex Partnerships Face Campaign Discrimination

by: Edward Garris

Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 04:00 PM CDT

In his June 26, 2013, Supreme Court opinion striking down key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that DOMA "control[led] over 1,000 federal laws in which marital or spousal status is addressed as a matter of federal law."

It turns out that election law is one of them.  

In a post this week in Roll Call, Nathan Gonzales reported that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that "married same-sex couples and candidates be given the same rights as married opposite-sex couples."  

To see how they play out, read below the jump.

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Bad Supreme Court Decisions: Blame Ourselves #NN13

by: Edward Garris

Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:46 PM CDT

We have met the enemy, and it is us.  That was the theme Thursday morning of a panel on the Supreme Court at Netroots Nation 2013.  

Rick Jacobs of Courage Campaign, Pam Karlan of Stanford Law,  and Tom Saenz of MALDEF, convened to discuss social justice and Supreme Court decisions with many anticipating several decisions that morning that never came: Voting Rights Act, DOMA and marriage equality, affirmative action (at the University of Texas).  Instead, the Court released a decision upholding the enforceability of arbitration clauses in consumer contracts.  

This is big, and the panel knew it.  And it hardly caused a ripple in the news.  

To see why, read below the jump.  

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