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Be Careful What You Vote For...
October 26, 2005 7:27 PM   Subscribe

Are Texans Poised to Ban All Marriage Altogether? A group opposed to the Texas anti-gay-marriage ballot initiative is pointing out that the language in Proposition 2 (one of nine proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution up for a vote November 8) might actually ban all marriages: gay, straight, whatever. The group -- Save Texas Marriage -- is organizing phone banks, offering signs and fliers, and pointing to language in the measure that would ban "any legal status identical or similar to marriage" without specifying that the ban would apply to gay persons. Prop 2 supporters, of course, are crying foul.
posted by mmahaffie (55 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Texans wouldn't ban all marriage. How would cousins get it on legally?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:34 PM on October 26, 2005


If marrige were banned, cousins copulating would be perfectly legal. Also horses.
posted by Balisong at 7:37 PM on October 26, 2005


While it's obvious Save Texas Marriage is just trying to scare people with totally illogical claims, that's exactly what anti-gay marriage groups do all the time. Plus, it seems pretty duplicitious for the Prop 2 authors not to include any homosexuality-related language in the text of the proposition even though that's clearly who it's targeting.
posted by TunnelArmr at 7:50 PM on October 26, 2005


If marriages are banned then only outlaws.. something something..
posted by TwelveTwo at 7:52 PM on October 26, 2005


Well TunnelArmr, they want to ban gay marriage without coming off as total bigots. Remember, they don't hate gay people, they just LOVE straight married people, or something along those lines.

It's what God wanted, after all.

I'll be voting against this, too bad I live in a county that went solid red during the last election. Oh well.
posted by Talanvor at 8:06 PM on October 26, 2005


Huh. That is what it says.
SECTION 1. Article I, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding Section 32 to read as follows:
  Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
  (b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
If I thought the law would actually get enforced as written, I'd be all in favor of it. But I expect it'll be creatively interpreted by some activist judge to allow 1m1w marriages.
posted by hattifattener at 8:19 PM on October 26, 2005


Why do Texans hate marriage?
posted by caddis at 8:20 PM on October 26, 2005


Balisong writes "If marrige were banned, cousins copulating would be perfectly legal. Also horses.
"posted by Balisong at 7:37 PM PST on October 26 [!]"




What a horse and another horse do in the privacy of their own barn is no one's business but their own.
posted by mullacc at 8:25 PM on October 26, 2005


So that's what happens when a really sh*tty plan comes together.
posted by clevershark at 8:33 PM on October 26, 2005


My understanding is this would make common law marriages void. At least that's what all the talk about town is currently.
posted by bigmusic at 8:33 PM on October 26, 2005


What got me about the article is the assumption from the 'pro-family' group that it was dirty pool to use a minister and talk 'all religious like', and it was only a 'so-called minister' anyway, since only right wing fundies are allowed to be in the ministry these days. Man, they sure don't like their own tactics used against them do they? HEH.
posted by UseyurBrain at 8:37 PM on October 26, 2005


TwelveTwo: "If marriages are banned then only outlaws.. something something.."

...only outlaws would have inlaws. Been a while since I'd heard that one.
posted by mystyk at 8:46 PM on October 26, 2005


If only General Santa Anna had tried just a little harder, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:49 PM on October 26, 2005


"Join the Ku Klux Klan at the Austin City Hall on November 5 for a rally to support Proposition 2"
posted by fourstar at 8:51 PM on October 26, 2005


"Join the Ku Klux Klan at the Austin City Hall on November 5 for a rally to support Proposition 2"

And they've invited one of our *black* city councilmembers to speak at the rally! Whoops.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 8:57 PM on October 26, 2005


Dear Texas,
Why do you hate your freedoms?
posted by TheSpook at 9:12 PM on October 26, 2005


Wow, it does sure look like the logic of identity is going to screw this amendment. For surely if "This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.", then marriage will be outlawed, since it is the only thing identical to marriage. We know that "identical" doesn't mean "similar to" because "similar to" comes right after it. And the first clause defines it, rather than legitimating it.
posted by ontic at 9:14 PM on October 26, 2005


Setting aside the gay issue briefly, I'm curious what the effect would be on a common-law or informal marriage?
posted by parliboy at 9:15 PM on October 26, 2005



posted by wakko at 9:26 PM on October 26, 2005


I love this picture (from one of the linked articles).

If even one gay couple gets married, I'll divorce this old bitch so fast....
posted by deadfather at 9:40 PM on October 26, 2005


If taken literally, it wouldn't ban marriage. You could still get married - just as you can today, in any state, hetero, gay or otherwise. What would happen if this were taken literally is only that the state and its subdivisions could not legally recognize marriage.

And that would be a good thing. Government should get out of the marriage business. Thngs like inheritance, hospital visiting, child custody etc. can be handled with laws that do not depend on marriage as a legal category.

Unfortunately the bit about "outlawing marriage" is just a ploy by the anti-prop-2 people, and wouldn't really happen. The muddled wording of prop 2 probably reflects the mental capabilities of the anti-gay contingent. For the same reason this silly tactic might actually influence the homophobes. Go Texas, get Kinky!
posted by jam_pony at 9:43 PM on October 26, 2005


SECTION 1. Article I, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding Section 32 to read as follows:
Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.


If you read it out of context, it really does sound like it could ban all marage.

I mean the first line defines marrage, and the second line bans it.

Here's a similar example

(a) Divorce in this state shall consist only the disolusion of a marriage
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to divorce.


What would that mean? Most people, in isolation I think, would take it to mean that divorce was banned.

I don't think a judge would enforce it that way, but it is poorly worded.
posted by delmoi at 9:44 PM on October 26, 2005


If even one gay couple gets married, I'll divorce this old bitch so fast....

I think those are members of the anti-amendment group, who think this law will ban marrage.
posted by delmoi at 9:45 PM on October 26, 2005


fourstar, I read over that URL too quickly and thought you had linked to the KKK's website. Somehow the idea of them having a web presence never crossed my mind...
posted by danb at 9:49 PM on October 26, 2005


Now that's how you fight a culture war.
posted by bingbangbong at 9:49 PM on October 26, 2005


I think those are members of the anti-amendment group, who think this law will ban marrage.

That's less funny then.
posted by deadfather at 10:29 PM on October 26, 2005


You know... I am very homesick for Austin.

But I'm not homesick for Texas.
posted by papakwanz at 10:58 PM on October 26, 2005


Just one more time...

Has anyone ever advanced a logical, non-faith based reason to not allow homosexual marriage?
posted by wilful at 10:59 PM on October 26, 2005


There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.
posted by diastematic at 11:44 PM on October 26, 2005


Hey! This amendment is great! It bans straight marriage, since this state allows only the union of a man and woman to count as marriage - so, implicitly, doesn't it actually allow homosexual "marriages", as long as they can slip past the "similar to" clause? Maybe not.

Myself, I think in states where gay marriage is disallowed, lesbian couples and um...male gay couples (why is there no unambiguous word for male gay couples?) should double team and make two 1m1w couples. At the very least it would annoy some anti-gay-union lobbyers, even if it's not terribly practical, or really achieving the same ends.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:48 PM on October 26, 2005


If marriages are banned then only outlaws.. something something..

Well, we all know Texas is just chock-full of outlaws.
posted by deusdiabolus at 12:45 AM on October 27, 2005


parliboy: Setting aside the gay issue briefly, I'm curious what the effect would be on a common-law or informal marriage?

I've been wondering about that as well, being one half of a male/female informal (or common law) marriage and living in Texas. I guess whether or not it effects common law marriages depends on how exactly they define marriage. Is the signing of papers necessary for a marriage to be defined as such. I was under the impression (and I did a good bit of research before we decided to call each other husband and wife) that the registration of our common law marriage was entirely optional, but the first question on the Travis County FAQ about common law marriages sort of implies otherwise:

My common law husband and I have been living in Texas and now want to validate our common law marriage so that it is legally recognized. How do we do that?

The answer is to fill out a form, but the question almost implies that to be legally recognized, you have to file that form. I guess I'm just going to see what happens. The wording of the proposition is very ambiguous and could be interpreted a variety of ways ... to the point of it being capable of being read as banning all marriages (which would be hilarious to see in action).

Who knows, maybe my husband and I will finally have to have that wedding we have put off all these years out of sheer laziness.

posted by Orb at 12:56 AM on October 27, 2005


I got the recorded phone call from the religious guy saying to vote no on 2 and was really confused since it sounded like he was saying the prop wasn't bigoted enough. I really hate how political calls are exempt from the Do Not Call rules.

What pisses me off about this proposition --aside from it being completely discriminatory-- is from a legal standpoint it is not necessary since gay marriage is already illegal. This proposition goes the next level takes care of any chance of a civil union. And takes away the right for domestic partner benefits from one's employer. Shouldn't that be the employer's business?

This prop and the dirty dancing cheerleaders are what the state leg spent its time on in the last session. I really hope this proposition fails but all the rednecks in the red counties will probably vote for this.

Texas has its famous Congressman from Sugar Land under indictment. Senator Conryn voted against the bill in Congress to outlaw torture. Kay Hutchison thinks that perjury is not a crime. I really wish Austin could secede from the rest of the state.
posted by birdherder at 1:08 AM on October 27, 2005


The law says:
Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.

So, while we're about making very literal interpretations, one may ask:
Who exactly will that one man and one woman be? Obviously, only one couple will be married in Texas.
posted by Goofyy at 1:41 AM on October 27, 2005


Whoo--eee! I think we has ourselfs a gen-u-ine Texian standoff!

fourstar, I read over that URL too quickly and thought you had linked to the KKK's website. Somehow the idea of them having a web presence never crossed my mind...

a) There is more than one KKK. Most of them are tiny splinter groups.
b) Why wouldn't they have websites? Some of them have successfully applied to get signs put up saying they clean highways. ADL overview
posted by dhartung at 2:39 AM on October 27, 2005



posted by dhartung at 2:43 AM on October 27, 2005


male/female informal (or common law) marriage

Do 'common law marriages' exist in Texas? It's widely assumed they exist in the UK, but they don't*: people generally find out that they should have signed a legal document indicating they are part of a union (i.e. got married) when their partner dies and they have to pay inheritance tax, or their partner is in a coma and their next-of-kin is his or her mother. Does 'common law' marriage have some legal definition or status in Texas, or do you just have a stronger presumption in practice that unmarried partners, however defined, have similar rights to spouses? It's a topical issue here, I'm interested in how you handle it.

*Except in very narrowly-defined cases, like if you are married in good faith by someone pretending to be an ordained minister.
posted by alasdair at 2:59 AM on October 27, 2005


Texas is one of the few US states that still has common law marriages, though the legal term here is "informal marriage". The document to register them is still completely optional, as far as I and the lawyer I spoke with about it a year ago before we bought a house know. I meant to link to the Travis County FAQ on it earlier and forgot. The only real definition of it, or rather, the conditions that must be met are you both have to agree to be married, you have to present yourself as husband and wife (file joint taxes, call each other husband and wife, listed as spouses on insurance forms, etc.) and cohabit in Texas at the time.
posted by Orb at 4:43 AM on October 27, 2005


freshwater_pr0n writes "'Join the Ku Klux Klan at the Austin City Hall on November 5 for a rally to support Proposition 2'

"And they've invited one of our *black* city councilmembers to speak at the rally! Whoops."


I'm glad this isn't happening here, a sane response is to laugh and I wouldn't be able to do that if it was affecting me.
posted by Mitheral at 5:24 AM on October 27, 2005


No really, how was it called again ? The land of freedom. Man broken dreams hurt.
posted by elpapacito at 5:55 AM on October 27, 2005


Has anyone ever advanced a logical, non-faith based reason to not allow homosexual marriage?

Maggie Gallagher took on the challenge recently, but failed for all the usual reasons.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:01 AM on October 27, 2005


Common law marriage certainly does exist here in Texas. I knew a woman who had a long-time non-marriage (heterosexual) relationship. When she and her partner split up, they had a dispute about how to divide things and had to get a divorce in order to resolve it.
posted by tippiedog at 8:10 AM on October 27, 2005


Has anyone ever advanced a logical, non-faith based reason to not allow homosexual marriage?

There's generally two attempts (at least as far as I've seen) made by the anti-gay marriage folks at non-religious arguments, neither of which succeeds:
Argument 1: The purpose of marriage is to encourage procreation; since gay couples cannot procreate, they should not be allowed to marry.
Response 1a: Opposite-sex couples which are unable to procreate are still allowed to marry.

Response 1b: The argument is valid only if procreation is the only social benefit brought about by marriage. If there are other social benefits to marriage in addition to procreation, gay marriages can still contribute those benefits to society.
Argument 2: Children are better off when raised by two opposite-sex parents than they are when raised by two parents of the same sex.
Response 2a: There is no evidence to back this up. (Although there may be studies showing children raised by two parents of opposite sex are better off than those raised by single parents, that cannot be extrapolated to two parents of the same sex.)

Response 2b: Even if it were true that, on average, children raised by two parents of the opposite sex were better off than by two parents of the same sex, that would not justify prohibiting all same-sex couples from raising children. Clearly, the best gay couple can provide a better home than the worst straight couple, so couples should be judged on their fitness as parents on a case-by-case basis, not as members of a class.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:17 AM on October 27, 2005


This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

This cracks me up! As an aside: It reminds of when I worked as a legal code editor a while back. Once, I actually codified a law that, as written, imposed a penalty for walking around in this one particular municipality's downtown area in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. The provision was just carelessly worded, of course, but that's how it went on the books because I had no authority to change the language. Those kinds of experiences have greatly contributed to my cynicism about the competence of public officials at all levels of gov't over the years...
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 8:24 AM on October 27, 2005


Maybe the politicians who submitted this bill wrote it in a langauge that would pander to their faith-based electorate, but also knowingly in a language that couldn't possibly stand up to any form of judicial review (?) once challenged if it was in fact passed. IANAL, but I am curious what the laywers out there think.
posted by fourstar at 9:14 AM on October 27, 2005


The sad part about this proposed constitutional amendment is that "civil marriages and civil unions between people of the same sex is already illegal in Texas". Link to PDF.
posted by Serena at 11:03 AM on October 27, 2005


Maybe the politicians who submitted this bill wrote it in a langauge that would pander to their faith-based electorate, but also knowingly in a language that couldn't possibly stand up to any form of judicial review (?) once challenged if it was in fact passed.

You misunderstand. This is not a law. This is a state constitutional amendment. Granted, it could be challenged federally, but I don't see how. Probably something with the provision that states have to recognize other states' marriages.

Btw, Save Texas Marriage is brilliant. We need more of this crap. FUD works.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:16 PM on October 27, 2005



posted by quonsar at 12:43 PM on October 27, 2005


Why don't they just ban all marriage (leaving it to the religious institutions) and make all marriages, regardless of gender, civil unions. This takes the government out of the more religious or ceremonial aspects of marriage, and leaves it only with what it needs.

Kind of what jam_pony said.
posted by spiderskull at 12:53 PM on October 27, 2005


Nice breakdown, Devilsadvocate.
posted by ontic at 2:46 PM on October 27, 2005


for what it's worth here is the "official" state analysis of the amendment. It's a pdf and you have to click on amendment 2.

apparently the state is trying to prevent future legal challenges of the ban on same sex marriages.
posted by busboy789 at 6:49 PM on October 27, 2005


"Join the Ku Klux Klan at the Austin City Hall on November 5 for a rally to support Proposition 2"

Once again, we have racial superiority through web design.
posted by undule at 6:53 PM on October 27, 2005


This reminds me of the all-time best FARK headline (which was this past spring although I can't find it)...

California gay-marriage ban ruled unconstitutional. In the interest of flamewar avoidance, this discussion thread is about wrapping things in bacon. Link goes to GIS for "bacon wrapped"

And, surprisingly, the farkers did just discuss wrapping things in bacon.
posted by neuron at 7:21 PM on October 27, 2005


Wow, I've read it through many, many times -- and it is indeed worded exactly as one would word it intentionally if they wanted to ban governmental recognition of marriage altogether. First, define the specific thing, then say that the government will not acknowledge the specific thing or anything similar. It's perfectly worded.

It almost makes me think the lawyer who wrote the proposed amendment is a spy for the other side.
posted by davejay at 7:30 PM on October 27, 2005


I'm with you, davejay- this had to almost be intentional, a bit of sabotage. My first thoughts on reading this were "Why bring this up now?" Let it win, without a fuss, and then bring up that the amendment the oh-so-noble "people" voted on actually makes marriage illegal.

And then spend your time and money stopping people from getting married. It'll take the lesson from the theoretical to the real: a straight couple that was on the fence or knee jerk anti-gay marriage might be a bit more sympathetic, maybe, if the state's laws actually made their own existing marriage or upcoming wedding no longer possible. It'd take at least a few weeks for the story to get press, and then they'd hold an emergency session to fix their stupid mistake, but in that time maybe a few lunkheads might learn something.

Eh, but probably not. People are chronically stupid, and deserve the suffering they get because they do stupid thoughtless self-centered things.
posted by hincandenza at 10:55 PM on October 27, 2005


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