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Texans Oppose Proposition#2

By Paul Hill

HOUSTON - On 11/8/05 Texans will vote on Proposition 2 which proposes a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Progressive activists are outraged at this attempt by the right-wing to use this as a wedge issue. The Texas AFL-CIO is opposed to the proposed legislation.

Former State Representative Glen Maxey of Austin points out in a letter "This measure was put on the ballot as a Voter Registration and Voter ID drive for Republican Governor Rick Perry and his right-wing cronies…The lead proponent of the Marriage Amendment is the Texas Marriage Alliance. Its spokesperson is Rick Perry. The Texas Marriage Alliance is run by John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, the two men who were indicted last week with Tom DeLay for money laundering and conspiracy…" He points out that Perry is "using this wedge issue to lineup support to keep control of the Texas Legislature in the 2006 elections."

The No Nonsense in November campaign has mounted a fightback. The group started a voter registration drive in the GLBT community. They have been helped by a diverse group of progressive activists.

Annise Parker is Houston's openly gay city controller and is quoted in the Houston Chronicle as saying that the marriage amendment is divisive and discriminatory and said "I take it personally because today, even though I cannot marry, I can enter into contracts and can take benefits of domestic partnerships from various companies. Should this pass, that may disappear."

Texas State Representative Scott Hochberg of Houston notes on his webpage "Nowhere else in the (Texas) Constitution is one group of people singled out to be denied rights that are available to others. This amendment goes far beyond simply defining marriage - it also prohibits civil unions and any other agreement that a court decides is 'similar to marriage' under a standard that the amendment does not clarify.

Faye Sullivan, a volunteer in the voter registration campaign told the World "I just feel like all Americans should be treated equally according to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We're supposed to be a secular country and to deny people their right is in polar opposition to what our forefathers meant. We could be next."

John Ibanez, an activist and organizer of the voter registration drive told the World: "The DeLay forces work on bigotry. They go to the evangelical churches and work to pull out the vote. Their real aim is the vote in '06. They are using this as a wedge issue to bring out the religious right. This is a test for them. It is important for the gay community to mobilize their forces to defeat this and hopefully cause a domino effect in the other states. There are going to be 12 or 13 other states that will have this on the ballot in 2006."

It isn't just gays that must mobilize against Proposition # 2. Bear this in mind:

Pastor Niemoller (a protestant minister from Germany) wrote:

"In Nazi Germany they first came for the Communists and the Jehovah's Witnesses,
But I was not a Communist or a Jehovah's Witness so I did not speak up.
Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak up.
Then they came for the Catholics, but I was not a Catholic so I did not speak up.
Then they came for the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist so I did not speak up.
Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

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