Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Texas Declares War on Gays and Lesbians

Terri R. asked me to share my thoughts on the Texas Legislature's war on gays and lesbians. I think she's about to get more than she bargained for.

Observing this past week's spate of cynical gay-bashing by the Lege has filled me with an increasingly familar feeling of disgust for my home state. Make no mistake: any legislator who votes for this sort of garbage is standing on the same side of history as rabid segregationists like George Wallace and Lester Maddox. It may take another 100 years, but one day, whatever's left of America will rightfully look back on legislated discrimination against gays and lesbians with the same collective sense of shame we now view Jim Crow laws with.

It's appropriate that a noxious piece of legislation like the proposed gay foster parent ban would be sponsored by a representative from Pasadena, the only place in the world where you roll your car windows up after someone farts. Rep. Robert Talton's ban may wind up being signed into law, but it will definitely be challenged in court, and the case against it will be strengthened now that Texas' gay-only sodomy law has been struck down by the Supremes. Either way, Texas taxpayers should thank all the radical nutballs and cowed moderates who supported the ban because we're all going to be paying the AG's office to defend it.

Then there's the human cost of living under a regime that honestly believes foster children are better off in orphanages than with gay and lesbian foster parents. Although there's no credible scientific evidence suggesting kids raised by gay parents are more likely to be gay themselves, that's the carrot in the proverbial hole for these reactionary, self-appointed defenders of "traditional values." If someone polled Texas parents on whether they believe gays "recruit" straights into a life of homosexuality, I'm pretty sure the "yes" votes would win.

Which is why I'd also expect a state constitutional amendment limiting the right of marriage to male/female couples would pass if put before the electorate. The bill sponsored by Pampa Rep. Warren Chism (a.k.a. "Warron Jism") and passed by the Texas House on Monday goes even further than that, banning any sort of contractual agreement designed to provide legal protection for unmarried couples. What will happen in Texas in November if this amendment makes the ballot is exactly what would've happened across the South if the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been put to a vote.

Personally, I think the government ought to get out of the "marriage" business altogether. Most people tend to view the concept of marriage through highly individualized, hyper-emotive constructs of the eternal love supreme, regardless of whether it actually pans out that way. That's fine from a spiritual perspective, but here on the ground, it's primarily a legal arrangement. This might be wishful thinking on my part, but if those of us who think of that legal arrangement as a basic human right can cede the word "marriage" to the spiritual realm, maybe that would be enough to tip the scales in favor of what is fair and just.

Under such a scenario, the legal concept of marriage would no longer exist for any partnership - gay or straight. Instead, the government would license legally-binding partnership agreements between consenting adults without regard to gender. The legal obligations of parents to their children would not change. "Marriage" would be interpreted however any given house of worship saw fit. Some sects would continue to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples as they do now, while others would refuse. Whoever wants to selectively interpret sacred texts to justify bigotry has every right to do so. Just keep it the hell out of the government we all have to live with and everyone goes home happy. Get it?


Karla said...

Every time I read the news about Texas lately, I get pissed off. And I do mean, PISSED OFF. This latest legislative BS? The icing on the cake.

I just got my property tax appraisal and my property taxes are going up another $600. I hate to say it, but I might have to sell the house and cut my ties with my beloved home state for now. Laws like this might ease the pain a bit, but Texas is going down the crapper faster than I can even believe possible. I'd miss the house, but am starting to get antsy about paying taxes to a state that treats people I love so badly, and yes, I have MANY gay friends.

Anonymous said...

I got exactly what I bargained for! Thanks, Greg!

What is happening to our world? There's this, and I just read a depressing article about how the battle over contraception will be the new battleground for "pro-lifers." Not to mention all the war and crap. I feel so helpless!

Terri R.

Anonymous said...

"Shoot some Chism into that heart of mine"
There are certain clowns trying to pull the same shit in Michigan. There's even some support to end benefits for same sex couples at U-M.....from people here in Ann Arbor.


jennifer said...

I know I shouldn't 'shoot the messenger,' but honestly, Greg, sometimes your blog makes me want to commit hari kari or go off Guy Fawkes-style, if you know what I mean and I think that you do.

Mainly because this is my only source of real news outside of Star Magazine.

Greg said...

Seeing as how I was born on Guy Fawkes Day, I know exactly what you mean, Jennifer.

And Russ, I'm amazed you remember that song!

Rachel said...

Yours is the best description of Pasadena air that I have ever encountered. And I heartily agree with your assessment of the Lege.