Lege Wrap-Up

Gay rights

Lege Wrap-Up
Illustration By Doug Potter

Getting Priorities Straight

If there's one thing activist legislators hate more than homosexuals, it's activist judges. So this session, lawmakers set out to kill two birds (of the same sex, no doubt) with one stone by passing a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriages. The resolution, sponsored by Pampa GOP Rep. Warren Chisum and a truckload of House co-sponsors, brought out hundreds of opponents who testified in two separate hearings lasting well into the night – to no avail. The constitutional marriage question goes to Texas voters on Nov. 8. More than a dozen states passed the constitutional measure last year, and our very red state will likely be added to that list. On a hopeful note, keep in mind that all the legislators who voted for this thing are up for re-election in 2006; and many of them – even the venerable Chisum, we're told – will face viable competition.

Even with marriage equality on the skids, there's good news to report. An amendment that threatened to prohibit gays and lesbians from becoming foster parents (and carried catastrophic retroactive effects for thousands of existing families) received a proper slaughtering in a conference committee. Before then, resident House Homophobe Robert Talton of Pasadena had managed to scrounge up enough votes to hitch his amendment to legislation overhauling the state's Child Protective Services division. SB 6 author Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, vowed to fight the offensive measure during House and Senate negotiations on the final bill. She succeeded.

As for the handful of anti-discrimination bills supported by the gay rights lobby, they all died in committee. – Amy Smith

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