I Now Unpronounce You…..

From the Star Telegram:

Texans: Are you really married?

Maybe not.

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for 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 Texas Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by Texas voters, declares that “marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” But the trouble-making 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.

I can think of one person who’s thrilled to death over the news!

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.


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


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

“It’s a silly argument,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of the Liberty Legal Institute in Plano.


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 of 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 B bans all marriages, and this is indeed a huge mistake.”

Maybe that’ll will make Pickles Bush a little less sour.

In October, Dallas District Judge Tena Callahan ruled that the same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional because it stands in the way of gay divorce. Abbott is appealing the ruling, which came in a divorce petition involving two men who were married in Massachusetts in 2006.

Radnofsky, the Democratic nominee in the Senate race against Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2006, said she voted against the amendment but didn’t realize the legal implications until she began poring over the Texas Constitution to prepare for the attorney general’s race. She said she holds Abbott and his office responsible for not catching what she calls an “error of massive proportions.”


Abbott, a former state Supreme Court justice who was elected attorney general in 2002, has not indicated whether he will seek re-election and is known to be interested in running for lieutenant governor.

From WOAI:

Controversy is swirling over a constitutional amendment that may not only ban same-sex marriage, but all marriages.

“When we looked at this section, and we could see it would apply to heterosexual couples, it was sad,” said attorney-at-law Deanna Whitley.

Whitley is talking about Article 1; Section 32 of the Texas Constitution. The amendment was added in 2005 to ban same-sex marriage. But some say the language is too vague, never actually specifying gay marriage.

“This state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage. It outlaws marriage,” Whitley argues.

Whitley says it is an issue that will certainly arise in divorce court, possibly causing some spouses to lose financial rights. And what could this mean for children of heterosexual couples?

“It places heterosexual couples in the same circumstance as gay and lesbian couples find themselves in today,” explained Whitley. “That is legal limbo.”

Equality at last!! How’s it feel, fundies?

But not everyone agrees. Senator Carlos Uresti calls Whitley’s interpretation a “ridiculous argument.” Senator Jeff Wentworth says it’s “preposterous,” adding, “the amendment does not ban straight marriage. Give me a break.”

Some attorneys say the controversy is far from over. They expect the argument to pop up in courtrooms across Texas, and not to be resolved until it lands in the lap of the U.S. Supreme Court.

From About.com:

George and Laura were married on November 5, 1977, at 11 A.M. in a small wedding in the Glass Chapel of the First United Methodist Church in Midland, Texas. It was the same church where Laura had been baptized. The officiant was Reverend Jerry Wyatt.

They had 75 guests. They didn’t have any bridesmaids, or groomsmen, or flower girls, or ringerbearers. Their wedding invitations were printed by hand.

George and Laura did not have a honeymoon.


Filed under Constitution, George W. Bush, Homophobia, Homosexuality, humor, Laura Bush, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, snark, Supreme Court, Texas, Wordpress Political Blogs

35 responses to “I Now Unpronounce You…..

  1. It won’t screw up Chimpy and Pickle’s marriage, since they were wed long before 2005, but it sure could screw up their daughter Jenna’s, which took place in 2008.

  2. maybe the governor can form a committee and disband it just before they conclude Radnofsky was right

    that whole state…..

  3. And they said that gay marriage was a threat to traditional marriage …

    (Confession time: I’ve said it myself, too … then, about five years ago, someone asked me, “How?” I couldn’t answer. I felt really stupid and gave my position some more thought.)

    • i was in a store a few years ago, and i was talking to this guy, probably in his 20’s, who worked there. he was carrying the printer i bought to my car, and we started talking about politics. at one point, he said that he doesn’t agree with gay marriage. i looked at him and said then don’t marry a guy. he had no answer.

      • I’ve come to that position. Being gay does nothing for me … but someone else being gay does nothing TO me, either, so who cares?

        I got this e-mail from a guy I know listing all these things that liberals supposedly want to ban (eating meat?), saying that conservatives will let you do what you want and liberals want to ban everything they don’t like.

        I shot back, “Yeah, like abortion and gay marriage.” He didn’t appreciate it.

        • yeah, those conservatives are a bunch of happy-go-lucky guys who would never tell anyone what they can and can’t do. unless you’re female. or gay.

          • Or Muslim.

            There’s a lot of chatter about banning Muslims from the military, and one guy I was arguing with wants to ban Islam entirely from the country.

            • any minority, really (while women are not in the minority, it sure feels like it). though a few are tolerated, they are never allowed to feel equal. i think they put minorities on a dartboard, and wherever the dart lands, that’s the group that should be persecuted overtly. i don’t suppose the same people who are screaming about banning muslims were saying the same about christians after timothy mcveigh did his evil. when a christian does something bad, he’s the exceptions. a muslim, jew, homosexual, or atheist who does something good is the exception.

              • Oh, he explained to me that it’s because Mohammad was violent, so Islam teaches violence. When Christians do bad things, they’re violating Christ’s teachings. Som the Inquisition, Crusades, Manifest Destiny, etc. aren’t really Christian history.

                I pointed out that Martin Luther was very anti-Semitic. Does that poison all of Protestantism, or at least the Lutheran denomination?

                He still hasn’t answered about the ~15,000 Muslims serving in the military right now, or the locals who are helping US forces.

                • their rules are non-negotiable when it comes to other people living by them, but they pick and choose which ones they live by themselves. it’s amazing how they can deny their own hypocrisy just by simply denying it. they never give any explanations.

                  patrick kennedy is being denied communion because of his views on abortion, but none of the roman catholics who support the death penalty have been denied.

                  • That’s what I’ve wondered, but not being Catholic I haven’t cared that much …

                    The church has positions that set off against both Right and Left, but I only hear the problems with the Left. The death penalty is a big no-no, and the Church has a pretty good record about caring for the poor, opposing the war in Iraq, and would have a very loose immigration policy. Those don’t seem to come up …

                    • people should clean up their own houses before they try cleaning up anyone else’s. when the catholic church makes reparations to people who were abused by priests and turn predator priest in to law enforcement, i’ll listen to what they have to say about morality.

  4. Oh cool, Rick Perry can finally hook up with that goat he’s been eying.


  5. I better check with my parents; I always thought they were married in WV, but they may have been married in TX. Texas is just full of awesome!

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  7. Leave it to Texas to fuck up while they’re busy fucking up gay people.
    According to Texas law, Mr. Chaz Bono could come to Texas and marry his girlfriend.
    Ironic, huh?

    • what’s ironic is that they can’t stand the thought of gays having the same rights as everyone else, but they actually may have achieved equality for gays and heterosexual people who thought they got legally married in texas after 2005. πŸ˜†