Today, according to the Dallas Morning News, Greg Abbott, the Attorney General of Texas ruled that
Domestic partners can’t receive health benefits from counties, cities or school districts because doing so defies Texas law on traditional marriage, Attorney General Greg Abbott said in an opinion made public Monday.
This fuckery was made possible by Texas’s 2005 amendment to its constitution that said that
This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
(Others have already pointed out that marriage is identical to itself, and therefore this amendment bans one-man-one-woman marriage. Go read them for yucks, then come back.)
A Dallas Fort Worth CBS affiliate writes:
Tea party-backed state Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston asked Abbott, a fellow Republican, to review the matter in November. […]
In a statement, Patrick said the measure, known as the Marriage Amendment, was passed by “an overwhelming majority of the Texas Legislature and ratified by more than 75 percent of Texas voters.
“This opinion clearly outlines that cities, counties and school districts cannot subvert the will of Texans,” Patrick said.
At first I thought that maybe AG Abbott’s hands were tied: after all, the 2005 amendment is—and by all appearances was always intended as—a big ol’ fuck-you to the gay community. As much “we don’ like your kind ’round here” as they could get away with. In which case the AG may not have had a lot of legal leeway.
At the same time, he could have said, “Look, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on DOMA in the near future. Depending how they rule, the 14th Amendment might come into play and invalidate Proposition 2. So let’s wait and see.” But he didn’t. Presumably either because he prefers the conclusion he came to, or because he thinks the Texas constitution is so clear that it doesn’t matter how SCOTUS rules.
At any rate, it looks as though an amendment introduced to make doubly sure that only straight people get to enjoy the benefits of marriage—it’s a well-known principle that what makes a thing enjoyable is knowing that someone else can’t have it, right?—is working as expected. Congratulations, Texas! Just don’t come whining when you’re not allowed to change voting laws without getting an okay from the feds because you have a history of discrimination, okay?