by Jesse Galef
Do you remember how people insisted that the gays were trying to ruin marriage? Well, they succeeded in Texas. When the people of Texas passed a 2005 constitutional amendment to “protect” marriage, those clever, clever gays somehow forced them to word it poorly enough that it might prohibit ALL marriage in the state, same-sex or otherwise:
The amendment, approved by the Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by voters, declares that “marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” But the troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:
“This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”
Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. But Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively “eliminates marriage in Texas,” including common-law marriages.
Why, yes, I do believe that legal recognition of marriage is a legal status “identical or similar to marriage.” By definition.
How in the world did that slip by people? It’s a pretty big deal. They might need a new constitutional amendment to fix the problem.
It’s absolutely legal to stop recognizing civil marriages. The people (through the governmental processes) can decide what relationships to grant special recognition and benefits. They decided to stop granting benefits to any relationships. Kudos for leveling the playing field for all sexual orientations, Texas!
I’m guessing it’s not what the people of Texas thought they were agreeing to. Their best options are an activist judge and revising their governing document. Which idea do you think offends Texans more?