Tag Archives: Ken Paxton same-sex marriage

Texas Grants Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses of State Employees

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s big decision on June 26th, most of what Texans have been hearing on the news is rightly about marriage. Even if some counties across the state continue to hold-out, the general trend is that they will eventually fall in line and comply with federal law.  At present, 115 counties across the Lone Star State are now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. They have come to this decision even in spite of grandiose promises from Attorney General Ken Paxton stating that counties *can* continue to refuse licenses to same-sex couples… as long as they are cool with risking a mountain of potential litigation.

While Paxton continues his quest for fantasy adjudication, other agencies across the state are moving forward.  Effective today, Texas Public Employees can now receive benefits for their same-sex spouses.  Here’s the story from Tom Benning of the Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN — The state bureaucracy is moving forward to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision, even as statewide elected leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott, have lambasted the landmark ruling.

Starting Wednesday — less than a week after the decision — the Employees Retirement System of Texas, the University of Texas System and the Texas A&M University System will extend benefits to spouses of gay and lesbian employees.

That means the list of employers providing same-sex partner benefits will include the state’s largest: the state itself.


The tangible developments highlight a divide between political rhetoric and practical reality on the emotional issue.

“Honestly, for the first time today I walked onto campus and I felt equal,” said Lisa Moore, an English professor at UT who had pushed for same-sex benefits. “I felt like I was being paid the same as a heterosexual employee.”

Employees in the ERS system (Employees Retirement System of Texas) have already been notified that spouses can receive benefits starting today if they were legally married before June 26th.  If they are recently married, their partners can receive benefits within 30 days of the employee filing.

So if you didn’t catch the irony here, Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton are encouraging county officials to basically ignore the ruling, yet they are doing nothing to prevent large state agencies from compliance.  What’s the word here… hypocrisy?  

In any event, it’s good that some state leaders see the writing on the wall.  For the hundreds of thousands of public employees across Texas, and especially the tens of thousands that are directly affected, today is yet again equality day.

So enjoy, and make sure to get your wives and husbands signed up!!

Welcome to Texas





Texas GOP Lawmakers Link Same-Sex Marriage to Incest, Pedophilia

As most of America continues to move forward with marriage equality, many in the Texas GOP insist on holding the Lone Star State back with antiquated, harmful falsehoods.  Here’s the story from the Huffington Post

In support of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s efforts to reinstate the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, more than 60 Texas lawmakers signed an amicus brief Monday arguing that recognition of gay marriage could lead to the legalization of incest, pedophilia and polygamy.

Filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 63 members of the Texas Conservative Coalition, the state legislature’s conservative caucus, advanced the notion that legalizing same-sex marriage could provide legal justification for the recognition of various moral taboos, including incest and pedophilia.

“The district court broadened the definition of the ‘existing right to marry’ as one that includes the right of people to ‘select the partners of their choosing’ for marriage, without regard to sex,” the brief contends. “If the right to select ‘partners of their choosing’ is the criterion used to invoke marriage as a fundamental right, then marriage restrictions on age, polygamy, and consanguinity are also ripe for challenge.”

As first reported by Lone Star Q, signatories include the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Pro Tempore Dennis Bonnen (R) and state Sen. Ken Paxton, the Republican nominee for attorney general.

Also thanks to Lone Star Q‘s fantastic work, you can find the names of all 63 lawmakers that supported Greg Abbott’s flawed document, as well as information on how to Tweet them with your opinion of their decision.

By now in Texas, it is to be expected that such a move would receive harsh criticism from Democrats.  But Greg Abbott and his insider club are also getting some major push back from members of the GOP.  Take this statement from the Republican Liberty Caucus

Sixty-three Texas Republican elected officials and candidates have signed on to an amicus brief in the case of DeLeon vs. Perry. Their choice to do this may offer short term political advantages but it is not in the long tem best interests of the party.

The brief stands in defense of Texas’ prohibition on same sex marriage, listing various questionable claims about the dangers of same sex marriage including an argument based on the slippery slope fallacy claiming that it will lead to the legalization of bestiality, incest, pedophilia and polygamy.

The Republican Liberty Caucus opposes using this issue as a campaign tactic. It will embarrass the party and the temporary gain in partisan voters is not worth the ultimate loss in party membership and support in the general election. It is the wrong position to take for party that believes in liberty and equality under the law.

The Republican Party needs to take a position on this issue based on reason and the best interests of the public. The best course for the protection of religious liberty and individual rights is to advocate the removal of marriage from the control of the state.

While it’s good to see that these shameful beliefs are not held by the whole of the Texas Republican Party, the thought of having Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick in the state’s top elected offices is especially scary after seeing this brief.  Anyone that cares about Marriage Equality or just stands for the truth should remember this in November. As they have proven here, a vote for Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, Ken Paxton or any of these other legislators is a vote spread harmful, malicious lies about the LGBT community. 

(photo credit: the Texas Tribune)