KKK Takes Spotlight Away From Other Prop. 2 Backers

Fundamentalists are shocked that Klan agrees with them

Over breakfast tacos last week, Glen Maxey joked that a Ku Klux Klan rally planned in Austin on Saturday will provide his anti-Proposition 2 campaign with the kind of press coverage that money just can't buy in the crucial days before Tuesday's election.

The ink and air time started well in advance of the Klan's arrival. Members of the American White Knights of the KKK have booked the City Hall plaza from 1-3pm Saturday to rally against "legal fag marriages!!!!", as the AWK Web message board proclaims. This is the kind of stuff that gives Prop. 2 proponents heartburn. Backers of the constitutional ban on same-sex marriages expressed surprise and dismay that the Klan would glom on to "their" issue, but what did they expect?

"We just want to come and encourage people to vote for Christian Family Values and against legalized homosexual marriage in the state of Texas," Klan representatives wrote in an e-mail to city officials. Those words could have just as easily come from state Rep. Warren Chisum, the Pampa Republican who sponsored the legislation leading to Prop. 2. But Chisum was quick to distance himself from the radioactive Klan, telling the Houston Chronicle that he had "absolutely nothing to do with" the group's appearance in Austin. Gov. Rick Perry, who is banking his 2006 re-election on the success of Prop. 2, brushed off any guilt-by-association fears and predicted the measure would win overwhelmingly, with or without the Klan's help.

City officials, meanwhile, aren't talking specifics about what heightened security measures will be in place for the rally, although one insider predicted that the distance between Klan members and opponents will be so wide that the Klansmen's remarks will largely go unheard. But that was before he learned from the KKK message board that someone named Cracker had donated a brand new PA system to the Klan cause. In any case, a "sizeable area" around City Hall will be barricaded to minimize the chances of a major fracas, officials said.

Prop. 2 opponents have pledged a nonrowdy demonstration. Maxey's No Nonsense in November group will join Soulforce Austin in a peaceful vigil, starting at 1pm at the southwest end of the First Street Bridge. "You cannot ever let it go unchallenged," Maxey said of the Klan "bringing its message of hate to Austin." In a lighter spirit of nonviolence, separate efforts are under way to encourage a group mooning of the Klan because, as www.moontheklan.blogspot.com explains, "one big ass deserves another."

Finally, Prop. 2 opponents will close out the weekend with a Texas Bill of Rights rally at 1:30pm Sunday at the state Capitol. State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, will keynote the event.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

same-sex marriage, Ku Klux Klan, KKK, American White Knights, Senfronia Thompson, Glen Maxey, No Nonsense in November, Soulforce Austin, Warren Chisum, Rick Perry

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