Here’s a shocker: The Texas Legislature and its Republican super-majority in the House of Representatives is likely to consider legislation that blocks any effort to lift the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
OK, it’s not a shocker. I was kidding.
State Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, has filed House Bill 623 that would prevent the federal courts or the Congress from legalizing same-sex marriage.
According to the Texas Tribune: “The federal government is trying to act to create moral standards, and that’s just not acceptable,” Bell said.
Let’s hold on for a moment.
I do not believe the feds are seeking to “create moral standards” with court rulings striking down same-sex marriage laws in several states. The impetus behind the rulings — in every instance — has been the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which grants full rights of citizenship to every American citizen. Full rights of citizenship means that every American is guaranteed “equal protection” under the law.
That means, quite clearly, that if you love someone who happens to be of the same sex as you, the Constitution gives you the right — as a citizen — to marry that individual, just as any citizen is able to marry someone of the opposite gender.
The Tribune reports: “The bill also requires state courts to dismiss legal actions that challenge a provision of the bill and award legal costs and attorney fees to the defendants. Citing the 11th Amendment, which gives states sovereign immunity, the bill also says the state isn’t subject to a lawsuit for complying with the act — regardless of a contradictory federal ruling.”
But wait, says a gay-rights group. Again, from the Tribune: “Daniel Williams, a legislative specialist for the gay rights group Equality Texas, said the bill would go against legal precedent.
“’This bill is retreading very well-established precedent here. In 1869, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Texas v. White that no, Texas does may not ignore federal law whenever it wants,’ Williams said. ‘Beyond it ignoring federal law, it would actually punish state employees who follow the law.’”
The setting of a “moral standard” is not at issue here. Adhering to federal law is what’s at stake.