4
| Courts |

Gay Marriage Won't Undermine the Texas Constitution; its 483 Amendments Did That

^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss, the gay Plano couple suing to overturn Texas' ban on same-sex marriage, will be in San Antonio on Wednesday trying to convince a federal judge to allow their case to continue.

The battle lines are familiar by now. Gay marriage, proponents say, is a constitutionally protected right. Opponents point out that overturning the ban would subvert the will of Texas voters, who passed an amendment to the Texas Constitution outlawing same-sex unions in 2005.

From a legal standpoint, both positions are perfectly reasonable. Morally speaking, you know where you stand.

See also: Gay Plano Couple Sues to Overturn Texas' Gay Marriage Ban

Still, it's worth addressing a particularly ludicrous bit of fear-mongering coming from Texas Values, the state lobbying arm of the religious right. Yesterday, President Jonathan Saenz sent out an email warning supporters that the state's most important political document is in grave danger:

The very survival of our Texas Constitution is at stake. That's an extreme claim, but I'm not overstating a word--the threat justifies alarm. A legal battering ram is smashing against the walls of our founding document, threatening a breach that would unleash a tide of liberal, politically-correct agendas to sweep away our most cherished freedoms.

You see, "gay marriage" is about way more than wedding rings and marriage licenses--even worse than a legal stamp of approval for homosexual relationships. Those are bad enough, but please see the total threat. If its definition of marriage can be treated like a soiled tissue to be discarded at will, then the Texas Constitution means nothing. Our rights as Texans will just be ink on some aging parchment.

Saenz then trots out various hypotheticals (churches sued for refusing to marry same-sex couples; bakers targeted for refusing to provide cakes for gay weddings; etc.) as proof of the disaster that a pro-gay marriage ruling on Wednesday will bring.

There's a problem with this argument, and it has nothing to do with the Freudian implications of Saenz's warning that recently gay-married Houston Mayor Annise Parker is "forc[ing] her lifestyle down your throat and mine." It's that the Texas Constitution is a joke.

Well, there's a lot of important stuff in there. But the notion that it's some sacrosanct piece of political literature, perfect and immutable, is absurd. It's been amended 483 times. It's also too long, was designed to address the challenges Texans face 138 years ago, and has deep structural flaws that hamper effective governance.

The worst the federal judge can do is invalidate one single amendment that's all of eight years old. In other words, no constitutions are at risk of destruction on Wednesday. Just the entire institution of marriage, a few souls and the very fabric of humanity.

Carry on.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.