They really don’t like the gays down in the Lone Star State.
- Governor Rick Perry takes good old boy pride in his state’s reputation for gay-hatin’. His taped comment to some supporters creatively suggests that homophobia actually attracts and possibly creates the kind of jobs the state needs and wants: “We’re creating more jobs than any other state in the nation. Would you rather live in a state like this or a state where guys can marry guys?” I recommend listening to the audio, where you can best hear his parochial incredulity. I, of course, would rather live in a state where guys can marry guys, but more important, I’d rather live in a state where my governor wouldn’t feel comfortable saying things like this.
- The Republican Governor is living down to his party’s standards, though. The Texas GOP platform is so chest-thumpingly heterosexual, it urges its members to make it a felony to so much as perform a gay marriage in that state, thus ensuring heterosexuals are fully accountable for any defections in orthodoxy. Remember, this is a felony that even straight people would go to jail for. It’s not just enough to want to punish gay people in the Texas GOP; you can’t have any of the regular folks wandering off the ranch either.
- The Texas courts, as a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of state politics, are also careful to remain in line. This week, the Texas Court of Appeals for the Fifth District overturned a lower court’s decision to grant a divorce to a same-sex couple who had been lawfully married in Massachusetts. Texas buttressed its constitution back in 2005 to make damn sure no same-sex couples slipped through any cracks in the law and got their relationships recognized in the state. The trial judge had gotten squishy and started feeling things, like sympathy for a couple whose relationship went sour, and ended up ruling that the whole scheme violated the U.S. Constitution. The appeals court judges reined him in, and gave the U.S. Constitution a little bit of a Texas working over. All is back in order now, with the gay couple’s relationship still in the proper legal limbo of Kafkaesque nonexistence. That’ll teach ‘em.
Texas, of course, also had a starring role in the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Lawrence vs. It. That little smackdown did not hinder the appellate court’s opinion one little bit, and it certainly is an open question whether Lawrence applies to marriage or just sodomy. But it appears Texas is once again ready to storm the barricades of the loose morals crowd, and stand up for a tough love so rigid it’ll cut your head off for infractions.
I’m sure there are some wonderful people in Texas, even some intrepid gay people and a cohort of nervy heterosexuals who are willing to stand up to these cowboy-booted thugs. But I’m just as happy to steer clear of the whole church.