Bill White's response to the gay marriage question leads to, well, more questions

Posted on 05 Mar 2010 at 12:43pm

Scott Braddock, host of KRLD’s “Behind the Headlines,” asked Texas Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill White yesterday whether it’s true that he voted against Texas’ 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. White responded affirmatively and said he did so “out of protest.” Here’s a transcript of the audio, which you can listen to here:

“I think we ought to have traditional marriage between a man and a woman, but frankly it was against the state statutes anyway and I think of it more as a wedge issue. I think politicians ought to spend a little bit more time thinking about staying married themselves then on who marries who. … I’ve never gotten up in the middle of the night, you know, just hoping the people in Austin would pass a law to prevent my wife from going off and marrying another woman.”

When I posed a similar question to White three months ago, he answered as follows:

“Same-sex marriage is precluded by the Texas Constitution. I believe Texas state government has more pressing issues than support or repeal of state constitutional amendments on this subject. My personal position has been the same as was expressed by President Obama in the last campaign. … I did vote against the state constitutional amendment in protest of wedge issue politics.”

There’s only one problem with White’s responses, aside from the fact that he doesn’t support marriage equality. Find out what it is after the jump.

If White’s position is the same as Obama’s, it means that he favors civil unions for same-sex couples but believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. But that leads to an unresolved difference that seems to be emerging between between the stated positions of the two. Obama supports a full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex relationships. Obama’s support of the DOMA repeal is in line with his support for civil unions, because you can’t have both.

Likewise, if White supports civil unions, he should support a repeal of Texas’ constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, which also bans all relationship recognition. White has said repeatedly that he voted against the amendment “out of protest of wedge politics.” But if he supports civil unions, he should in fact support a repeal of both the 2005 amendment and Texas’ 2003 statute, known as the state’s “mini-DOMA.” White has said he voted against the 2005 amendment, but as a justification for that vote, he says same-sex marriage was already prohibited by the 2003 statute. The problem is, both the amendment and the statute ban not only marriage, but also any form of relationship recognition.

So it would appear as though White’s statements are self-contradictory, and the question that needs to be asked of him is not, “What do you think about gay marriage?” The question that needs to be asked is, “Do you support a repeal of the 2005 amendment and/or a repeal of the 2003 statute related to same-sex relationship recognition?”

I would have already asked White this question, but thus far he has refused to give the Voice a live interview, with his campaign choosing instead to correspond in a somewhat limited fashion via e-mail. If White doesn’t support a repeal of the two state laws prohibiting any form of relationship recognition, then I would say his position is out of step with not only his own party, but the state’s voters as a whole. As I reported a few weeks ago, three consecutive polls have shown that about 60 percent of Texas voters support some form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples, either civil unions or marriage. What people need to realize is that in order to get there, at least legislatively, both the amendment and the statute must first be repealed.

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments