There are many plausible explanations for the so-called Texas Miracle, the state's decade-plus surge in economic and population growth. Job creators appreciate the low tax burden and light regulation. Workers like the low cost of living and lack of a state income tax. Heretofore unimagined quantities of oil and gas are being pumped out of the ground. Et cetera.
There's some truth in all of those things. But Cathie Adams, the president of the arch-conservative Texas Eagle Forum and one-time chair of the Texas Republican Party, has her own pet theory, which she advanced at an anti-gay marriage press conference last week covered by Right Wing Watch. What's really driving Texas' growth is its steadfast rejection of the "homosexual agenda."
"Texas is the fastest growing state in the nation, and there is a reason for that, and part of that reason is traditional marriage," she explains.
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This [the state's gay-marriage ban] is good for Texas families. We do not accept the homosexual agenda, that is what we are talking about here. If those who embrace that homosexual agenda want to move to a state that does embrace homosexual marriage, there is a state of Massachusetts that they could move to. But we are finding is that they're not moving to Massachusetts, what is happening is that Massachusetts is declining in numbers, people are moving out of that state. So why in the world would Texas, that is growing and the fastest growing, want to join Massachusetts, that is declining? People are moving away, they are voting with their feet, out of Massachusetts.
Latin has a phrase for this: cum hoc ergo propter hoc, i.e. the fallacy of confusing correlation with causation. It's common enough, but Adams should be mindful that relying on a discredited rhetorical device can easily backfire.
Take the recent flood of Central American children across the Rio Grande. What if it's not the horrific violence in their home countries that's driving them here, or the whispered promises of asylum inspired, perhaps, by Obama's uncertain deportation policies? What if all those unaccompanied minors are simply yearning to live in a place where the constitution explicitly bans same-sex unions? There's just as much evidence to support this theory as there is to support Adams'.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.