We need to take a moment to unpack one of the religious right’s favorite talking points about marriage equality, or, more specifically, the same-sex marriage ban currently in the Texas Constitution that has been challenged in federal court.
The ban was approved by voters in 2005, which was — if our math is correct — one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight — nine! That’s almost 10! The ban was approved by voters almost an entire 10 years ago.
A lot can and has happened in nine years.
Since 2005 we’ve lived through two presidential elections, three Winter Olympics and two Summer Olympics, one great recession and, more relevant to this blog post, a big change in attitudes toward the LGBT community and about equality. A majority of Americans now favors same sex-marriage. And in this state, a plurality of Texans now feel the same way, and the percentage is rising.
But over at the far-right group Texas Values, which opposes equality for the LGBT community, it’s as if 2005 was just yesterday. Look at this screen capture taken from the group’s website.
You’ll notice Texas Values uses the present tense. You can often find the group’s president peddling the same stat.
And it’s true, when Texans went to the polls in 2005, the same-sex marriage ban received 76 percent of the vote. But to claim that 76 percent of Texans supported the marriage ban either back then or continue to do so today is, at best, disingenuous.
Here is what Texas Observer reporter Forrest Wilder pointed out earlier today via his Twitter account.
It is simply false to say “76% of Texans support” a same-sex marriage ban when only 13% of *voters* voted for the ban almost 10 years ago.
— Forrest Wilder (@Forrest4Trees) August 6, 2014
If the same vote were held today, would the ban still pass? Maybe, maybe not. One thing we would be willing to put money on is that if it did pass, it wouldn’t receive anywhere near the 76 percent of the vote it did in 2005.
The point is, we’re not infallible. All of us make mistakes. A growing number of Texans are recognizing that the ban might have been a mistake. What might have seemed like a good idea a long time ago, might not be such a hot idea now. What was popular nine years ago, could seem a little embarrassing now.
For instance, in October 2005, just a month before the ban passed, the No. 1 album in America was by … Nickelback. We all make mistakes.