Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Texas bans all marriages. Including yours.

From Dave Montgomery at the McClatchy Newspaper Group:

AUSTIN, Texas - Texans: Are you really married?

Maybe not.

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for state attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state.

The amendment, approved by the Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by voters, declares that "marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman." But the troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:

"This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage."

Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. But Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson&Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively "eliminates marriage in Texas," including common-law marriages.

She calls it a "massive mistake" and blames the current attorney general, Republican Greg Abbott, for allowing the language to become part of the Texas Constitution. Radnofsky called on Abbott to acknowledge the wording as an error and consider an apology. She also said that another constitutional amendment may be necessary to reverse the problem.

"You do not have to have a fancy law degree to read this and understand what it plainly says," said Radnofsky, who will be at Texas Christian University on Wednesday as part of a five-city tour to kick off her campaign.

Abbott spokesman Jerry Strickland said the attorney general stands behind the 4-year-old amendment.

"The Texas Constitution and the marriage statute are entirely constitutional," Strickland said without commenting further on Radnofsky's statements. "We will continue to defend both in court."

A conservative leader whose organization helped draft the amendment dismissed Radnofsky's position, saying it was similar to scare tactics opponents unsuccessfully used against the proposal in 2005.

"It's a silly argument," said Kelly Shackelford, president of the Liberty Legal Institute in Plano, Texas. Any lawsuit based on the wording of Subsection B, he said, would have "about one chance in a trillion" of being successful.

Shackelford said the clause was designed to be broad enough to prevent the creation of domestic partnerships, civil unions or other arrangements that would give same-sex couples many of the benefits of marriage.

Radnofsky acknowledged that the clause is not likely to result in an overnight dismantling of marriages in Texas. But she said the wording opens the door to legal claims involving spousal rights, insurance claims, inheritance and a host other marriage-related issues.

"This breeds unneeded arguments, lawsuits and expense which could have been avoided by good lawyering," Radnofsky said. "Yes, I believe the clear language of (Subsection) B bans all marriages, and this is indeed a huge mistake."

Breeding unneeded arguments, lawsuits and expense? That's the purpose behind most legislation.
We're in the best of hands.
Government must intervene.
We simply must do something, rather than stand idly by.......
Healthcare will be different. They'll get it right.
Please pass the Kool-Aid.


Harper said...

I just finished reading the Star-Telegram article. Did you see any mention of the fact that Radnofsky is running for the Texas AG in 2010 against Abbott?

What the "media" leaves out, wrongly infers and misinterprets is truly stunning.

Anonymous said...

From what is stated here, I infer only that only civil marriage is "under the gun", not religious marriage, since that status is created/sanctioned by [insert deity or deities of your religious preference] and his/her/their ministers on earth.

Regardless, it is my belief as a libertarian that the law should neither condone nor discourage civil contracts of mutual support and succor between consenting adults, regardless of gender, race, or number, or whether or not they involve cohabitation or sexual intimacy.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I did catch that. She's at TCU tonight, I think.
Speaking of media bias, I'm not a Sarah Palin fan, but can you believe the lopsided stuff coming out r.e. her new book?
The cover of Newsweek? Good Lord, can you imagine if they'd done that to Hillary/Teleprompter Jesus/or (fill in blank) ?

Dr Ralph said...

Since you raised the subject of the former Republican Vice Presidential candidate's latest work of fiction, I find your apparent willingness to give a pass to the nonsense she spews fascinating. Not that I'm encouraging you to waste the $28 it would cost you to be able to give her a proper fisking.