Naked City

1 Man 'n' 1 Woman 4 Ever

Texas lawmakers aim to add another set of fangs to existing anti-gay marriage laws by putting a state constitutional amendment question to voters next year. State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, who holds the House record for filing the most anti-gay legislation, put forth such a bill first thing Monday morning – the start date for filing legislation for the 2005 legislative session, which begins Jan. 11. The bill, House Joint Resolution 6, calls for the definition of marriage – spelled out as a union between one man and one woman – to be dutifully carved into the state constitution.

Eleven states passed similar measures on Nov. 2, with gay rights advocates putting up their biggest, although unsuccessful, fights in Oregon and Michigan, where voters otherwise backed John Kerry over George Bush, who supports a U.S. constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. That would require approval from 38 states, and right-wing Texans want our state to help lay the groundwork toward that end.

Chisum's office did, however, give the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas a courtesy call prior to filing the bill, so the group had time to assemble a diverse group of gay rights' advocates to speak at joint press conferences held Monday in Austin and Houston. "Marriage is a building block for strong families, communities, strong cities, and indeed a strong nation," said LGRL's Heath Riddles from the Speaker's Committee Room at the State Capitol. "It makes no sense to deny same-sex couples and their children the opportunity to enjoy the solid foundation provided by marriage."

Riddles then introduced lesbian couple Jill Wilcox and Karen Langsley, along with their two children, Kimberly, 10, and Zach, 12. "Here comes the poster," Wilcox joked as the family of four approached the podium. Wilcox and Langsley, a family law attorney, said a few words before turning the microphone over to the kids, who were none too shy about expressing their views on the ridiculousness of anti-gay sentiment. "I love both my parents," Kimberley said, adding that the idea of her parents not being recognized as a proper married couple "just breaks my heart."

Chisum was the 2003 House sponsor of the state's Defense of Marriage Act, which Gov. Rick Perry signed into law to prohibit the recognition of same-sex unions blessed outside of the Lone Star State. Texas already banned gay marriages before DOMA, but the newer legislation served to double or triple the protective barriers surrounding the institution of marriage between – once again with feeling – one man and one woman.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Gay Marriage, Warren Chisum, Lesbian / Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, Jill Wilcox, Karen Langsley, Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA

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