Does Texas Values Also Support School Segregation and the Ban on Interracial Marriage?

by Dan Quinn

Was it wrong for the federal courts to force an end to school segregation and the ban on interracial marriage in Texas? One might be excused for wondering whether the folks at Texas Values think so.

Texas Values, lobby arm of the right-wing, Plano-based group Liberty Institute, insists today that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott “standsĀ up against lesbian mayor.” The anti-gay group notes that Abbott, a Republican running for governor this year, has filed court briefs in two lawsuits regarding Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s move to extend insurance benefits to the same-sex spouses of city employees who were married in states where such unions are legal. Abbott’s briefs are in opposition to that policy.

The Texas Constitution and state law bar recognition of same-sex marriages, but such unions are legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia. As the Houston Chronicle reports, Parker and the city attorney support extending benefits to married spouses of city employees by pointing to last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the federal Defense of Marriage Act, other relevant case law, and the federal government’s recognition of same-sex marriages conducted where such unions are legal.

Jonathan Saenz, the lawyer/lobbyist who heads Texas Values in Austin, today praised Abbott for filing the briefs and insisted that federal courts should leave Texas to enforce its own laws in its own state courts:

“Texas has the right to enforce Texas law and the Texas Constitution in Texas state courts. We are thankful that Attorney General Abbott has sided with our position on this issue, and we believe that his office’s further involvement in this case will be a benefit to Texans and to the Texas Constitution.”

So, Jonathan, does that mean you and your organization think the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka ruling was wrong? After all, the Texas Constitution mandated racial segregation in the state’s schools. The Supreme Court essentially told Texas it could no longer enforce that constitutional provision or related laws.

And what about the Supreme Court’s 1967 ruling in Loving v. Virginia, Jonathan? Do you and Texas Values think it was wrong for the justices to strike down laws against interracial marriage in Virginia, Texas and other states? The justices ruled that states couldn’t enforce such laws because the measures violate the rights to due process and equal protection guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Do you oppose those rulings as well as recognition of same-sex marriages, Jonathan? Or is your bigotry limited just to gay people?