Tag Archives: Gay Marriage

Texas GOP Ready to Play the Gay Bashing Card One More Time

The Houston Chronicle gets an early jump on the 2017 Legislative session by looking at proposed GOP legislation that would legalize discrimination against gay Texans based on one’s religious beliefs.

Get ready for another round in Texas, too. For state Rep. Matt Krause, a Fort Worth Republican, the fight here extends to legislation next session that would “supplement the state’s existing law to allow business owners to refuse services to people whose lifestyles clash with their religious beliefs,” as reported by the Austin American-Statesman’s Tim Eaton.

Except Krause isn’t only after a law, which would require simple majorities in both chambers and Gov. Greg Abbott’s approval. He wants to send the question to voters as a proposed constitutional amendment — the first time they will vote on something remotely related to gay rights since 2005. Krause has to clear a high bar first, though. He needs to win the support of two-thirds of the House and Senate to get it on the ballot. Still, the issue is that important to him, Krause told Eaton.

“I wanted to put it in the constitution to make it even stronger,” he said. “It is still something I think is very important.”

Should Krause get the election he desires, it will create some crucial challenges and opportunities all around that may well define the political contours of this fight in Texas for years to come.

Red supports the proposed amendment.  Red is anxious to discriminate against numerous of his fellow citizens who have raised Red’s holy ire.  Red’s religious beliefs will prohibit him from providing services to left-handed owners of dogs that weigh more than 50 lbs (the dogs that is), drivers who fail to follow the “every other car” rule,  anyone who claims soccer is boring, stockbrokers, people who fart in elevators just before exiting, Rep. John Culberson, Dallas Cowboys fans, lake trash, Bluetooth cell phone users, anyone appearing on a “Best Dressed” list, several of Red’s in-laws and a few cousins, Aquarians, ethnic Albanians, and high-school science teachers.  There are probably a few more, but this is a good start.

Thanks for Nothing Katie Lang

Hood County Clerk and Tea Party favorite Katie Lang explains why she cannot fulfill the duties of her office because of her religious beliefs.  If that is the case, she needs to step aside and let someone who actually can perform one of the essential duties of the office take over.

Oh, and by the way, Lang’s religious beliefs ended up costing Hood County $44,000 in her failed attempt to deny a marriage license to Joe Stapleton and Jim Cato.  In fairness, Hood was led astray by that paragon of legal virtue – Attorney General Ken Paxton – who encouraged Texas civil servants to violate the law.  Off the Kuff has the details on how the taxpayers of Hood County took it in the shorts because of Lang.

Ken Paxton Ignores First Rule of Holes

The news just isn’t getting any better for embattled Attorney General Ken Paxton who now faces possible contempt charges over his refusal to follow the law of the land on same-sex marriage following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.  Paxton has put up roadblocks wherever possible to state recognition of same-sex marriage hoping no doubt to assuage to his Tea Party base in light of his other legal troubles.  Under the guidance of Paxton, the Texas Department of health has so far denied a terminally ill gay man a death certificate naming his legally wed spouse as his husband. AP reports on the brewing controversy in a federal court in San Antonio.

Judge Orlando Garcia ordered Paxton to appear in a San Antonio federal court next Wednesday after a Houston gay man was not provided an amended death certificate for his husband. The court order comes just two days after Paxton was booked on securities fraud charges.

The hearing is to determine whether Paxton and Kirk Cole, interim commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, should be held in contempt after potentially disobeying a July 7 court order barring the state from enforcing any laws “that prohibit or fail to recognize same-sex marriage,” according to the court order.

Garcia further ordered that state officials must provide an amended death certificate to John Stone-Hoskins of Conroe, who had filed court papers earlier Wednesday asking the judge to force Texas officials to place his name on the certificate for his husband, James Stone-Hoskins, who died in January. The two were married last year in New Mexico. 

He had argued that the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision on gay marriage in June means his name should be placed on his spouse’s death certificate. The ruling required all states to recognize same-sex marriages, even those performed elsewhere, and overturned any legal bans.

The certificate listed James Stone-Hoskins as single and referred to his husband as a “significant other.” In court papers John Stone-Hoskins says he’s facing a terminal illness and wants to settle his estate and have state records recognize his marriage. He added during a news conference Wednesday that he should be able to inherit his spouse’s estate but cannot because the certificate doesn’t list him as the surviving spouse. Complicating matters was that his husband didn’t have a will when he died, according to court papers.

“This is about every same sex couple that’s going through or could go through what I’m going through now,” he said.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has said it’s reviewing the Supreme Court ruling to determine if changes must be made to death certificate documents.

“This involves taking a broad look at a variety of forms and vital records,” agency spokeswoman Carrie Williams said in a statement provided earlier to WFAA-TV in Dallas. “Our attorneys are working with the AG’s office on the analysis. We hope to finish the analysis in the coming weeks. Once we complete that analysis, we would make any necessary changes as soon as possible.”

 

County Clerk Refuses to Follow Law – Offers No Explanation

Off the Kuff report that Irion County Clerk Molly Criner is refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.  Her only explanation appears to be “I can’t do that.”

Criner, clad in a hot magenta knee-length skirt, white long-sleeve shirt and brown hair flowing loosely around her shoulders, extended her hand as she walked in and asked for the women’s names.

“We just need a marriage license,” one of the women repeated.

“Ok,” Criner sighed, “well, I can’t do that. But the clerk’s office in San Angelo is only 25 miles [away] and they’d be happy to issue one. I just can’t.”

For minutes the dialogue continued, the women questioning Criner as to why she was refusing and whether she had the paperwork and authorization. She responded that she does have the paperwork and is authorized, but repeated that she “just can’t do it.”

Referencing her staff, all of whom she said have issued marriage licenses to heterosexual couples in the past, Criner explained that no same-sex certificates would be coming out of her office. “I have not delegated my authority to them to do it, so they don’t have a choice,” Criner said. “You know, we all believe very strongly in what we believe, and I admire you for that. I really highly recommend 25 miles down the road, where you can get a license in Tom Green County.”

What Ms. Kriner can’t do is perform one of the essential functions of her office which is following the law that she took an oath to uphold.  What Kriner can do is resign if she cannot perform the job she was elected to do.

Profiles in Courage – However Misguided

Rusk County Clerk Joyce Lewis-Kugle resigned her office rather than have to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage by issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.  Lewis-Kugle who was first elected in 2006 explained her reasons in her resignation letter to County Judge Joel Hale.

“Before taking office, I was required to take an oath to uphold the laws of this State and the United States. Due to the recent decision by the Supreme Court, the laws I swore to have now changed.”

I disagree with her views, but Lewis-Kugle did the honorable thing by resigning her office rather than complaining or engaging in grandstanding like some other Texas county clerks.

Of course, Red is also willing to bet that Lewis-Kugle will attempt to leverage her resignation into a run for another office as she will undoubtably be viewed as a Tea Party martyr.

Texas County Clerks Violating Their Oath of Office

Off the Kuff does an excellent job of reporting on Texas County Clerks that are violating their oath of office by not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples – so Red doesn’t have to.  The latest is Hood County’s Katie Lang who apparently came up with a number of bogus excuses to deny a gay couple a marriage license and then had the temerity to call in Sheriff’s deputies to harass people who were attempting to exercise their constitutional rights.  It took filing a federal lawsuit to get Lang to follow the law.

Lang who sports one of the more bizarre personal biography websites for a County Clerk appears to be a Tea Party stalwart playing to her base in boldface type.  Her webpage proudly touts her extensive experience as an “award winning video producer/director with over 28 years in the film industry.”  It goes on to talk about her “high personal standards” and lists numerous awards she has received for her commercials for the now-defunct Tandy (Radio Shack) Corp.  At the end of the biography – again in bold print – Lang proudly touts:

WHAT COUNTS . . . THE CITIZENS OF HOOD COUNTY!

Unless of course, those citizens happen to be gay.

Is Dan Patrick Advising Texas Officials to Ignore the Law of the Land?

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (TP-Texas) apparently wants the advice of Attorney General Ken Paxton about the options available to state officials who have a “conflict of conscience” now that gay marriage has been legalized nationwide by the US Supreme Court.

“(The gay marriage ban) could be struck down or altered by our nation’s highest court,If that should happen, county clerks and justices of the peace could be forced to subjugate their sincerely held religious beliefs. The practical reality of this conflict will occur throughout the state.”

In his own letter Thursday, Paxton urged county clerks to hold off on issuing marriage licenses to gay couples until his office has had a chance to analyze any decision from the high court.

These officials and the County Clerks who issue marriage licenses take an oath of office to uphold the law.  Does this mean only laws they approve of?  Does this mean they can nullify the law based on their religious beliefs?  Do your jobs or step aside and let someone who will take over. Otherwise, let the lawsuits roll.

The Anti-Gay Crowd Aint Going Down Without a Fight

Texas AG Ken Paxton will not give up easy and Red suspects neither will his Tea Party cohorts.  Marriage is only for straights and the Gays can feel whatever they want, but don’t try to walk down the aisle in Texas.  RawStory recounts Paxton’s recent interview on CNN.

“My job as attorney general and the job of the Legislature is to really follow the will of the people and enforce the laws that we have,” he remarked. “This is both in statute and in our constitution. So, that’s my job, and that’s the job of the Legislature.”

But the attorney general was not willing to say that the state would follow the Supreme Court if it decided to rule in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage later this year.

“Aren’t you saying that the gays and lesbians in your state are not as valued at heterosexuals because they can’t form into a union?” Camerota asked.

“All the Legislature has done in the past is try to reflect the values that have been in this state and this country for over two centuries,” Paxton insisted.

“What about homosexuals who fall in love? What should they do?” the CNN host pressed.

“They have — they can do whatever they want,” Paxton shrugged. “But the reality itself right now in Texas was defined by the people of Texas overwhelmingly as between a man and a woman. And that’s the law of Texas, it’s in our constitution, it’s in our statutes.”

“I mean, they can’t really do whatever they want as you’ve just said,” Camerota shot back. “Do you understand why gays in Texas would feel that is discriminating against them?”

“They can feel how they want,” Paxton replied. “The reality is the voters of Texas have passed the law as it is.”

Ten bucks says that even Tea Party crazed Texas would not vote the gay marriage ban into the Constitution today.

Let the Gays Marry and There Will Be Rioting in the Streets

Raw Story reports that Texas Rep. Bill Flores (TP- Bryan) has linked the rioting in Baltimore to the trend in favor of gay marriage.

On the Wednesday edition of the Family Research Council’s Washington Watch radio program, Flores told FRC President Tony Perkins that crowds of conservatives were showing up at the U.S. Supreme Court to urge justices to support the “rights of tradition marriage.”

Perkins suggested that the government was just creating more problems for itself as courts throughout the nation continued to rule that LGBT people should have equal marriage rights.

“A lot of these problems are created by the breakdown of the family, which the redefinition of would only accelerate,” Perkins opined.

“You’re exactly right, Tony,” Flores agreed. “Let’s talk about poverty for instance… The single best indicator of whether or not a child is going to be in poverty or not is whether or not they were raised by a two-parent household or a single-parent household. And so the breakdown of the family has contributed to poverty.”

“You look at what’s going on in Baltimore today, you know, you see issues that are raised there,” the congressman continued. “And healthy marriages are the ones between a man and a woman because they can have a healthy family and they can raise children in the way that’s best for their future, not only socially but psychologically, economically, from a health perspective.”

“There’s just nothing like traditional marriage that does that.”

Red doubts that Flores intended for this to sound as stupid as it does.

The Tea Party Believes in Freedom – Unless You’re Gay – Then Not So Much

The Texas Tribune reports that a House committee has approved a bill to further restrict gay marriage – even though it is already illegal in Texas.  The Tea Party bulldozer continues sweep aside any chance that Texas will treat all of its citizens fairly.

Texas House committee on Wednesday passed a bill that seeks to prohibit same-sex marriages, even though the state already bans such unions. 

The measure is one of several proposals at the Texas Capitol targeting same-sex marriage and the first one that has cleared a legislative committee this session, according to the Texas Freedom Network, which describes itself as fighting initiatives backed by the state’s religious right.

The State Affairs Committee passed House Bill 4105, which would forbid the use of state or local funds for issuing same-sex marriage licenses. The 7-3 vote was along party lines, with only Republicans supporting the measure. The proposal now heads to a committee that schedules legislation for debate by the full House.

“The intent is to assert the sovereign rights of Texas and of the citizens of Texas,” said Rep. Cecil Bell [TP-Magnolia], the bill’s author. “I believe it is a bipartisan issue — our social rights and our traditional values.”

You sir, are a bigot.