Bigoted Amendment Is Bigoted

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?

Inexplicably-Elected Official Recommends Magic Spell

From the office of the governor of Texas, Rick Perry:

WHEREAS, the state of Texas is in the midst of an exceptional drought, with some parts of the state receiving no significant rainfall for almost three months, matching rainfall deficit records dating back to the 1930s; …

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICK PERRY, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas. I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on that day for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal and robust way of life.

Yup, magic. An elected official of a populous state in an allegedly advanced country is using his office to tell his constituents to use rain magic.

Notice that Perry’s proclamation, like a well-crafted ad for a magnetic bracelet or an herbal boner pill, tries to give the impression that the product works, without actually making any actionable claims:

WHEREAS, throughout our history, both as a state and as individuals, Texans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer; it seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join together in prayer to humbly seek an end to this devastating drought and these dangerous wildfires;

Shorter Perry: “We have a drought, with the ensuing wildfires and crop failure. Here, have a pacifier!”

(Via ThinkProgress.)

A Modest Proposal for the Texas GOP

The platform paper of the Texas GOP shows that they’re as chock-full of crazy rightardiness as ever (like believing in “The sanctity of human life … from fertilization to natural death”, and also being in favor of capital punishment).

In several places, the document underlines their commitment to privacy, e.g.:

Real ID Act – As the Real ID Act effectively creates an unconstitutional and privacy-inhibiting national ID card, we hereby call for its immediate repeal.

Of course, any right to privacy obviously doesn’t apply to what goes on in people’s bedrooms:

Texas Sodomy Statutes – We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.

Presumably what they mean is that they want Lawrence v. Texas overturned. The law that was overturned in that case criminalized blow jobs, but since I imagine a lot of Texan good ol’ boys like those, presumably they wrote “sodomy” as a fancy synonym for “buttsecks”. Which is something that straight people never ever ever ever do. At least, not outside of librul hellholes like Austin.

Yeah, they really don’t like teh gays:

Homosexuality – We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been
ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Republican political document if it didn’t mention abortion. The GOP is still sore about Roe v. Wade (which, by the way, reaffirmed the right to privacy that they’re so fond of elsewhere). And while they haven’t managed to get that overturned yet, they’re going for the next best thing: make it so hard to get an abortion that it’ll be effectively, if not legally, banned. And lo, the “Legislative Priorities” section begins with:

We urge the Texas legislature in its next biennial session to enact legislation requiring a sonogram be performed and offered as part of the consent process to each mother seeking an elective abortion.

And that, along with Mike Huckabee’s implied admission that homophobia is mostly about the “ick factor” of buttsecks, gave me an idea: Lawrence v. Texas isn’t going away any time soon, and neither are gays. Gay marriage is coming. So what they should do is do the same thing as with abortion. Allow gay marriage, but before two dudes can get married, they have to watch a gay porn video.

I think my favorite part of this is that this would make it someone’s job in Austin to buy pr0n for government purposes.

Crippling Brains for Jesus

Does anyone need more proof that Ron McLeroy, the newly-appointed Texas State Board of Education Chairman, is a superstitious asshat who’s out to cripple the state’s education system? Here’s what he told his church in 2005:

“Whether you’re a progressive creationist, recent creationist, young-Earth, old-Earth, it’s all in the tent of intelligent design,” McLeroy said. “And intelligent design here at Grace Bible Church is actually a smaller tent than you would have in the intelligent design movement as a whole, because we are all Biblical literalists…. So because it’s a bigger tent, just don’t waste our time arguing with each other about…all of the side issues.”

“Modern science today,” McLeroy complained, “is totally based on naturalism,” thus “it is the naturalistic base that is [our] target.”

What’s frightening is that this assclown is in charge of education in Texas. And as bad as that is, the effect of his militant ignorance won’t be confined to one state: Texas is the second-largest market for school textbooks (after California). This means that publishers will tone down the science in their books if they think it’ll make them more likely to sell in Texas.

Maybe we need a new rule: that someone in charge of X must not be ideologically committed to destroying X.

(HT Texas ObserverTexas Freedom NetworkAmericans United)