by Katherine Weber
Newscast Media AUSTIN—Two same-sex couples in Texas filed a federal lawsuit this
week challenging the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that was
overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2005. The couples argue that the ban
unconstitutionally prevents them from enjoying the benefits of married couples, while
the state’s Attorney General Greg Abbott has vowed to vigorously defend the ban.
Lawyers for the couples said in court documents filed this week in the U.S. District
Court in San Antonio that their clients are being unconstitutionally discriminated
against by not being allowed to marry in the state, where in 2005, nearly 75 percent
of voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between
one man and one woman. The lawsuit specifically argues that the June ruling by the
U.S. Supreme Court that overturned a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act
conflicts with state-to-state bans on same-sex marriage.
The two couples, Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin and Victor Holmes
and Mark Phariss of Plano, are seeking an injunction to halt the state law banning
same-sex marriage. “There is no rational basis, much less a compelling government
purpose, for Texas to deny plaintiffs the same right to marry enjoyed by the majority
of society,” attorney Barry Chasnoff, who is representing that plaintiffs, said in a
statement to the Associated Press. Currently, 16 states in the U.S. have legalized
same-sex marriage, the most recent ones being Illinois and Hawaii.
Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Abbott, said the attorney general is prepared to
defend the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, arguing that the Supreme
Court was clear to ensure in its ruling that individual states would have the authority
to determine same-sex marriage legalization. “The U.S. Supreme Court was clear that
states have independent authority to establish their marriage laws. Texans adopted a
constitutional amendment defining marriage. We will defend that amendment.”
Newscast Media AUSTIN, Texas—True to the saying: “Don’t Mess With Texas”, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has warned UN election observers not to come to Texas polling stations or they may face criminal prosecution for violating state law, as stipulated in the Texas Election Code, regarding foreigners.
In a defiant letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the AG wrote:”As you know, Texas election laws govern anyone who participates in Texas elections. The fact that representatives of the United States joined the U.S.S.R, Yugoslavia, Romania, and other OSCE member-nations in signing a document at a 1989 conference in Copenhagen has absolutely no bearing on the administration of elections or laws governing elections in the State of Texas.
“In addition to my desire to defend and enforce Texas election laws, I am also concerned that an unnecessary political agenda may have infected OSCE’s election monitoring activities.
“While we welcome international visitors who wish to engage in a legitimate information exchange, we have no interest in being lectured by the OSCE about how best to conduct the State of Texas’ business.”
Attorney General Abbott added: “I’m particularly offended that the European organization seems to be working with American groups tied to ACORN — a community coalition accused of voter fraud.”
The letter from the OSCE suggests that the international group can circumvent Texas election law by gaining unfettered access to Texas’ polling locations. That appears to violate Texas law which prevents unauthorized persons from entering a polling place, or loitering within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance-on Election Day. OSCE monitors are not granted an exception to Texas law.
Should the UN election observers ignore the warning from the AG, one thing they will find out very quickly is that Texas is a whole different country, and extremely protective of the Republic of Texas, unlike most of the other states in the US.
The UN together with Amnesty International have on several past occasions tried to intervene in death penalty cases that involved foreign nationals committing crimes against Texans and have failed.
This showdown between Texas and the UN is certainly something the Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas Governor Rick Perry are used to.
The AG has also been busy on Twitter sending out the following tweets: