I just got back form the Texas Capitol. The bad news is that the GOP dominated Texas House approved sending a constitutional amendment to voters this fall defining marriage as between one man and one woman and banning even civil unions by a vote of 102 to 29.
The good news is that the Democrats who spoke in the debate forcefully and energetically called the amendment bigoted, hateful and discriminatory.
I was proud of those who spoke out, especially representatives Rafael Anchia of Dallas, Jessica Farrar of Houston and Mark Strama of Austin. It was clear that the theocrats could pass whatever they wanted, and these folk could have simply gone silent without any political risk, especially Rep. Strama who is from a close district. But they did not.
If you live in Texas consider writing a note of encouragement to these three as well as to Senfronia Thompson, Elliott Naishtat, Lon Burnam, Garnet Coleman, Mike Villarreal and others who stood against the bigotry and called it what it was on the House floor.
The resolution must still go to the State Senate, which is not as committed to taking up the matter as the House was, and is not, although dominated by the Republicans, as conservative and reactionary as the State House.
I met or spoke privately with Farrar, Anchia and Strama before the vote, and I was impressed by the fervor with which they addressed the problems of the gay community. These folk are our friends, and they did fight for us, even though it was certain they would lose. I am proud of them and the work they are doing.
The expressions of solidarity with gay and lesbian Texans by the Democrats so dominated the actual debate that, despite the final vote, I left the Capitol feeling more affirmed and respected by my allies than trashed by my enemies. Over and over again a Democrat rose to denounce the Amendment as discriminatory, hateful or bigoted, and to affirm the need to equally protect all Texas citizens under the law and Constitution.