Thursday, November 19, 2009

Barbara Radnofsky: Texas AG Abbott Oversaw Nullification of Texas Marriages

Texas voters, it seems, in their zeal to deny to their gay neighbors rights and privileges that they take for granted, may just have shot themselves, and their marriages, right in the foot.

Apparently, according to Barbara Ann Radnofsky, who hopes to unseat Republican State AG Greg Abbott, the constitutional amendment that Texas voters came out in droves to vote for in 2005, as urged by their priests and preachers, the amendment to deny gay men and women the right to a state-sanctioned marriage, went a little too far.

You see, in their zeal to deny gay Texans the right to marry, the framers of Proposition 2, a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage in Texas, actually banned all marriage. And, as Radnofsky points out, Greg Abbott oversaw the whole process.

Said Radnofsky in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

“You do not have to have a fancy law degree to read this and understand what it plainly says.”
Oh really? I had trouble believing it, that these people could be that dense, but then I went and read the entire thing as it sits right now as Section 32 of Article 1 of the Texas State Constitution (scroll all the way down):

Sec. 32. MARRIAGE. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

(Added Nov. 8, 2005.)
Clause (b) says it all.

Said Radnofsky:
“Whoever vetted the language in B must have been asleep at the wheel.”
For “whoever” read Abbott.

Not true says Abbott’s staffer Kelly Strickland (who helped draft the amendment), from the same article:

“The Texas Constitution and the marriage statute are entirely constitutional.”
In saying this, the staffer appears to be defending Texas’ ban on all marriages, saying that this ban is “entirely constitutional.”

What is truly ironic here is that Radnofsky is not the first person to point this out. It was pointed out 4 years ago by the group “Save Texas Marriage.”

From the Austin Chronicle:

“A newly formed group, Save Texas Marriage – a blood relative of the No Nonsense in November campaign – has mounted a full-on attack on Prop. 2 that ncludes a massive rollout of automated calls to nearly two million homes across the state. In one call, the Rev. Tom Hegar, a Presbyterian minister, warns that because the second part of the proposed amendment, prohibiting the recognition of "any legal status identical or similar to marriage," fails to distinguish between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples, a ‘liberal activist judge’ could see fit to void all marriages. ‘Don't risk it; vote against it,’ Hegar says, and ends with ‘God bless you.’”

Now you just know that someone is going to take advantage of this ill-written law. What better way to get out of a property settlement in a divorce case than to make the case that the marriage was never legal?

I am wondering one step further. If marriage in Texas isn’t legal, what does that do to divorce decisions? If there no marriage is recognized in Texas, how can the state grant divorces?

Never mind how many people are there out there having sex out of wedlock, I want to know how many bigamists there are out there as a result of this snafu.

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