Thursday, November 19, 2009

Any Legal Status Identical Or Similar To Marriage Can't Be Recognized By Texas

Remember the so called "same-sex-marriage" amendment (PDF) to the Texas State Constitution approved by voters in November 2005? The wording of that amendment may have effectively nullified all marriage in Texas!

That amendment to the Texas Bill Of Rights said, "SECTION 1. Article I, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding "Section 32 MARRIAGE" to read as follows:
  1. Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
  2. This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that, Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, is saying that section (b) effectively “eliminates marriage in Texas”:
She calls it a “massive mistake” and blames the current attorney general, Republican Greg Abbott, for allowing the language to become part of the Texas Constitution. Radnofsky called on Abbott to acknowledge the wording as an error and consider an apology. She also said that another constitutional amendment may be necessary to reverse the problem.

“You do not have to have a fancy law degree to read this and understand what it plainly says,” said Radnofsky.
This isn’t the first time the reach of the second section has been questioned. Before the amendment passed, a group called Save Texas Marriage warned that a judge could potentially void all marriages in the state if the language became part of the Texas Constitution.

Star-Telegram story continues: Radnofsky acknowledged that the clause is not likely to result in an overnight dismantling of marriages in Texas. But she said the wording opens the door to legal claims involving spousal rights, insurance claims, inheritance and a host other marriage-related issues.
"This breeds unneeded arguments, lawsuits and expense which could have been avoided by good lawyering," Radnofsky said. "Yes, I believe the clear language of B bans all marriages, and this is indeed a huge mistake."
In October, Dallas District Judge Tena Callahan ruled that the same-sex-marriage ban is unconstitutional because it stands in the way of gay divorce. Abbott is appealing the ruling, which came in a divorce petition involving two men who were married in Massachusetts in 2006.

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