Opponents of marriage equality keep trotting out the same tired arguments in an attempt to justify legalized discrimination against LGBT families. In state after state, federal courts keep knocking those arguments down. But Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott makes essentially the same already-rejected arguments anyway in a new court brief defending the Texas ban on same-sex marriage.

From the Texas Tribune:

The brief was filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the state is appealing a state district court judge’s February ruling that the ban is unconstitutional. …

Abbott’s office contends that a same-sex marriage ban meets the Equal Protection Clause’s prescription that laws “be rationally related to a legitimate state interest.” The state argues that promoting opposite-sex marriage encourages the birth of children “in the context of stable, lasting relationships” in a way that same-sex marriage could not.

More fundamentally, the brief says, the courts should not overrule Texas voters’ decision in 2005 to define marriage in the state constitution as “solely the union of one man and one woman.”

Regardless of the court’s legal authority to strike down same-sex marriage bans, the attorney general argues, democracy would be better… Read More

As LGBT families gain marriage equality in state after state, the opposition is becoming increasingly desperate and vicious. Today, for example, a Texas religious-right group launched a new hate-filled and almost unhinged attack on supporters of marriage equality.

In a fundraising email to far-right activists, Texas Values, the lobby arm of Plano-based Liberty Institute, claims that anti-gay Christians are suffering from discrimination:

“Christians in Texas and across the country are being persecuted, intimated [sic], and punished for simply expressing the biblical view of marriage.”

The sneering email even suggests that same-sex couples don’t seek to marry because they love each other and want to protect their family. No, the email says, the fight for marriage equality is about using “government to elevate the homosexual lifestyle” (emphasis in original):

Here’s the dirty little secret––“gay marriage” isn’t about marriage at all. It’s not about couples exchanging rings or wedding vows. As marriage touches every part of our society, this destructive effort is actually a strategy to use the government to elevate the homosexual lifestyle to a status in law above the free exercise of religion. It’s true, homosexual advocates want their sexual lifestyle to trump religious… Read More

In some ways, at least, that’s what it has sounded like since U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia on Wednesday struck down the Texas ban on same-sex marriage. If many of  the complaints we heard from politicians and activists on the right sounded familiar, they should have: they’re essentially the same ones Americans heard when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state bans against interracial marriage nearly five decades ago.

Gov. Rick Perry insisted on Wednesday that “the 10th Amendment [to the U.S. Constitution] guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions.” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz complained that Judge Garcia’s decision is a “troubling display of judicial activism” and that “unelected judges should not be substituting their own policy views for the reasoned judgments of the citizens of Texas.” Others joined in with similar denunciations of “judicial activism” and calls to respect state sovereignty over marriage.

Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman, who is seeking the Republican nomination for state attorney general this year, portrayed the court’s decision as “disastrous” and made a religious case for upholding the ban on same-sex marriage:

“Some liberal, unelected federal judges with lifetime appointments seem to be missing the point that… Read More

We just sent out the following press release about today’s historic federal court ruling that strikes down the Texas ban on same-sex marriage:

The Rev. Dr. Larry Bethune, pastor of Austin’s University Baptist Church and a member of the Texas Freedom Network Board of Directors, has the following statement following today’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio that the Texas ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Bethune said:

“Today’s decision is historic for both religious freedom and civil liberties. It respects the religious freedom of many congregations, like my own, that have been blessing same-sex unions for several years. Moreover, marriage equality acknowledges the worth and dignity of all families under the law and in our faith tradition. University Baptist Church blesses same-sex and heterosexual unions as a gift and calling from God.”

Bethune has served on the Texas Freedom Network board since 1995.… Read More

We told you Monday that a religious-right group’s voter guide reveals that several Republican candidates in Texas State Board of Education elections this year think government shouldn’t be responsible for making sure all children get an education. The same candidates also support shifting tax dollars from public to private schools. So it might not be surprising to hear that their hostility to public education is matched by their disdain for science and separation of church and state.

According to answers in the voter guide, District 7 incumbent David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, and Fort Worth challengers Eric Mahroum and Lady Theresa Thombs in the District 11 Republican primary all support teaching “intelligent design”/creationism in public schools. They also want biology textbooks to teach creationist arguments about so-called “weaknesses” of evolution. District 11 incumbent Pat Hardy, R-Fort Worth, indicated that she opposes teaching both “intelligent design” and those discredited “weaknesses” arguments.

All of those candidates, including Hardy, say the Ten Commandments should be displayed in public school buildings, that marriage is a union of one man and one woman and that “no government has the authority to alter this definition.”) They also “strongly agree” that “the more people live by… Read More