On Monday, the very day we launched our new campaign to get politicians out Texans’ private lives, the state attorney general issued an opinion that shows why our efforts are so important. In a formal opinion, Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote that school districts and city and county governments offering access to health insurance for the domestic partners of their employees are violating the state Constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Let’s put this in perspective. According the pro-marriage equality group Freedom to Marry, same-sex marriage is legal in nine states plus the District of Columbia. Ten other states offer varying degrees of legal recognition for same-sex couples, including full civil unions in some cases. New Zealand and France are just the latest countries to legalize same-sex marriage. And the U.S. Supreme Court could rule in coming weeks that the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal.
But Texas politicians are troubled by local governments simply offering health insurance to the domestic partners of their employees. Even health insurance that employees or their domestic partners, not taxpayers, would have to pay for. Seriously?
Fortunately, Equality Texas — which works to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression — notes that school districts and local governments can continue to offer benefits to unmarried household members if they craft eligibility criteria that don’t look like marriage. Equality Texas also points out that the AG’s opinion does not carry the weight of law. Ultimately, the courts may have to settle that issue in Texas.
But we all know that won’t stop some politicians and other busybodies. Whether it’s on same-sex marriage, birth control or even sex education, politicians and religious-right activists are obsessed with policing the private sex lives of ordinary Texans. Help us slam the bedroom door on them all by joining our campaign at cupidorstupid.org.