Let them eat cake: rep offers free cake in honor of same-sex marriage ban

Freshman Rep. Mark Keough, R-The Woodlands, is offering free cake to constituents.

A sponsor of Rep. Cecil Bell’s bill barring any salary to government employees who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Keough’s cake celebrates a decade of Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage.

Today was also Texas Faith and Family Day, so serving cake after a long day of eating the red meat social issues important to GOP primary makes sense.

I highly doubt all of Keough’s constituents are God-fearing Christians concerned the Apocalypse will emerge from Cathie Adams’ hair. I also doubt are all Republicans, much less Republicans who voted for his opponent in last year’s Republican primary.

But according to one observer, “regardless of your politics,” tweeted one person, seen below, “I 100% support offering free cake to your constituents. #FreeSpeech #txlege”:

Screen shot 2015-02-24 at 4.58.07 PM


No matter how much I may want cake, I really don’t want to eat a cake celebrating the state’s refusal to recognize my friends’ marriages.

Haters gonna hate. And haters can eat their fucking cake too.

In fact, let them eat cake.

—  James Russell

Stay on Travis County marriage may continue until Supreme Court ruling

Goodfriend and Bryant.2

Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend show off their marriage license

A spokesperson for the Texas Supreme Court said its stay on a same-sex marriage ban will likely be in place until a United State Supreme Court ruling this summer.

“Somebody is going to rule on this, and it’s the U.S. Supreme Court, definitively, in three months,” Osler McCarthy, staff attorney for public information at the Texas Supreme Court told The Daily Texan, the student newspaper of the university of Texas at Austin. “So what the court has done is say, ‘Stop. Nobody move.’”

Last Wednesday, Feb. 18, a Travis County probate judge ruled the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. Then last Thursday, Feb. 19, Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend received a one-time marriage license from Travis County Judge David Wahlberg, citing the probate judge’s decision.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, asked for an emergency stay, which was ultimately granted by the court. He also asked the court to overturn the couple’s marriage. But that doesn’t seem likely.

What remains to be seen is if the stay will be lifted pending a 5th Circuit decision on the state’s same-sex marriage ban, which could come any day now.

—  James Russell

BREAKING: Bill reaffirms same-sex marriage ban, would only allow state to issue marriage licenses


Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock.

A bill filed today by a freshman West Texas Republican legislator would only allow the Texas Secretary of State to issue marriage licenses to opposite sex couples.

SB 673, known as The Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act filed by Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, centralizes the process of obtaining marriage licenses to a single Texas entity, the Secretary of State, according to a statement released by the legislator’s office.

“This will ensure uniformity and prevent noncompliant individuals within a county from issuing marriage licenses that do not conform to state law,” he said, citing a Travis County judge’s decision yesterday, Thursday, Feb 19, allowing the county officials to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant.

In his statement Perry also cited the need to restrict marriages to a man and a woman per Texas law.

In 2003, the Texas Legislature banned recognition of same-sex marriage. Voters in 2005 voted to enshrine marriage discrimination in the state constitution.

“Almost a decade ago the definition of marriage was democratically defined by a super-majority of Texans,” said Sen. Perry. “Yesterday, Travis County officials acted in direct conflict with the Texas Constitution. SB 673 ensures rule of law is maintained and the Texas Constitution is protected.”

A companion bill, HB 1745, was filed in the House by Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia.

—  James Russell

I’m looking to interview a few straight couples for a possible story

Polyamory_pride_in_San_Francisco_2004Are you heterosexual in an opposite sex marriage? Did you notice your life began falling apart this morning? Are your kids are coming home in drag? Is your perm melting? (I’m looking at you, Cathie Adams.) Well then your world may just be falling apart!

After those God forsaken lesbos in Travis County got hitched this morning, the gloom and doom predicted in the Book of Leviticus (copyright Blonde White Jesus with Six Pack Abs) is coming true.

So if you noticed you suddenly have cravings to fuck Porky the Dog or that every traditional family around is breaking down in front of you, I’m looking to speak to you! Feel free to contact me on our “contact us” page. Or if you’re feeling frisky after the flaming chariots have moved in, tweet me @james4texas.


—  James Russell

UPDATE: Texas Supreme Court stays Travis County marriage

Goodfriend and Bryant.2The Texas Supreme Court has issued a stay in the marriage between a Travis County couple following Attorney General Ken Paxton’s appeal.

The order can be found here. However, this order apparently does not void Sarah Goodfriend’s and Suzanne Bryant’s marriage.

Barbara Rosenberg, an attorney who works in the Dallas City Attorney’s Office, said her understanding is that the ruling can only stop future licenses from being issued.

“The [status of the ] marriage will be determined by the outcome of the cases,” she said. “It will be like California.”

By that, she is referring to the 18,000 marriage performed in California in 2008 before Prop 8 put issuing marriage licenses on hold. Those performed were recognized. In 2013, Prop 8 was overturned and marriage resumed in the state.

—  James Russell

TEXAS MARRIAGE UPDATE: Equality Texas calls on DeBeauvoir to start issuing marriage licenses

Dana DeBeauvoir

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir

A day after a Travis County probate judge issued a ruling striking down Texas’ ban on legal recognition of same-sex marriages, Equality Texas today (Wednesday, Feb. 18) is calling on Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately.

But according to a spokeswoman in DeBeauvoir’s office, the county clerk will not issue those marriage licenses until she gets the go-ahead from the federal courts.

DeBeauvoir had previously said she was ready to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples as soon as the courts would allow. After Judge Guy Herman issued his ruling Tuesday, DeBeauvoir said she needed to meet with Herman and county lawyers to “find out if there is anything I can do [in terms of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples]. Right now, I think it’s no, but we are checking.”


Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith

But Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said today that Herman’s ruling makes marriage equality the law in Travis County. “The law in Travis County now allows for marriage equality. Equality Texas calls upon the county clerk to stand with us — on the right side of history,” Smith said.

The written statement issued by Equality Texas also noted: “Just as the Supreme Court may issue a marriage ruling this summer that applies to all 50 states, and just as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals may issue a marriage ruling any day now that applies to the 5th Circuit, Judge Herman has issued a ruling that has the effect of law in Travis County.”

The spokeswoman in DeBeauvoir’s office, who identified herself as Angela Vallejo, said today that “nothing has changed” since the county clerk’s statement yesterday. “We have to wait for the federal courts” to settle the question, she said. “As soon as they approve it, I am sure we will begin issuing the licenses.”

Getting a license in Travis County

If — or rather, let’s say when — DeBeauvoir’s office begins issuing licenses to same-sex couples, here are a few rules you need to know:

• The Travis County Clerk’s Office is located at 5501 Airport Blvd. in Austin.

• The cost to get a marriage license is $81 if you pay cash, $84 if you pay with a credit card. Checks are not accepted.

• Both parties have to present a valid ID; both parties have to know their Social Security numbers, and both parties must be at least 18 years old. (Those under 18 must have a parent or guardian with them to give permission.)

• Marriage licenses expire 90 days after they are issued.

• Those obtaining marriage licenses have to wait 72 hours to get married, unless they have a waiver from the court.

The status of marriage equality in the courts

Herman’s ruling came as part of an estate fight in which Austin resident Sonemaly Phrasavath is seeking to have her eight-year relationship to Stella Powell designated as a common-law marriage. Powell died last summer of colon cancer, and after her death, her siblings attempted to step in to claim her estate.

According to the Equality Texas statement issued today, Herman’s ruling finds “that the restrictions on marriage in the Texas Family Code and in the Texas Constitution that restrict marriage to the union of a man and a woman and prohibit marriage for same-sex couples are unconstitutional because the restrictions violate the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Contrary to [DeBeauvoir’s] position previously stated in the media, this ruling in fact allows her to immediately issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Travis County,” the statement declares.

“Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir previously stated she would be happy to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples once the law allows for it.” Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said.

Herman’s ruling yesterday came a year, to the month, after U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled in federal court that the Texas same-sex marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution. Garcia declined plaintiffs’ request late last year to lift the stay on that order and allow same-sex marriages to begin in Texas. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on that case and two others — one from Louisiana and one from Mississippi — on Jan. 9, and could rule in that case any day. Plaintiffs in the Texas case last week asked the Fifth Circuit to lift the stay allow gay and lesbian couples to begin marrying in Texas right away.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on four marriage equality cases out of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in April, and to issue a ruling in June. The court is widely expected, as this time, to strike down all same-sex marriage bans in the U.S.



—  Tammye Nash

Scalia’s same-sex marriage decision will be based on who decides


Justice Antonin Scalia

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia hinted at what his dissenting opinion will be in the upcoming marriage equality case that will be heard by the court, probably at the end of April. But one thing we wants everyone to understand is that he isn’t “anti-gay.”

According to the Washington Blade, Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at George Washington University.

Scalia asked the audience not to paint him as “anti-gay,” saying his opinion when the court rules this spring will not pertain to the “substance” of whether couples should have the right to marry.

“That isn’t the issue,” he said. “The issue is who decides. Should these decisions be made by the Supreme Court without any text in the Constitution or any history in the Constitution to support imposing on the whole country or is it a matter left to the people?”

Ginsburg responded by stating that a societal change had led the court to pro-equality rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8.

“We looked to see who they are,” Ginsburg said of gay people. “They turned out to be our next door neighbor of whom we’re very fond. They turned out to be our child’s best friend — perhaps even our child. I think that accounts for the very swift change.”

Ginsburg has performed at least two same-sex weddings.

—  David Taffet

Marriage begins in Alabama, HRC calls for Moore’s impeachment

Marriage_Equality_Map_FL_01-30-2015Marriage has begun in Alabama, according to the Alabama Media Group, despite orders to the contrary from the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Campaign has launched a petition to remove Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore from office. Moore urged the governor of Alabama and probate judges, who issue licenses in the state, to stand in the way of same-sex marriages despite an explicit order by a federal judge.

The HRC petition calls on the Judicial Inquiry Commission to take action against Moore — who previously declared that homosexuality should be a punishable offense and grounds for losing parental custody — for shirking the law and the obligations of his office.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is sitting this round out, according to the Washington Blade. Asked if the House Republican leadership would weigh in on the outcome of pending marriage equality litigation before the Supreme Court in an official capacity, Boehner said, “I don’t expect that we’re going to. The court will make its decision and that’s why they’re there, to be the highest court in the land.”

Unlike in the Windsor case, where the federal government was a party in the case and the GOP congressional leadership spent $2.3 million in taxpayer dollars to defend the law, the federal government is not a party in the current case pending before the Supreme Court.

—  David Taffet

Michigan to recognize same-sex marriages performed in state

Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced it would recognize about 300 same-sex marriages performed in the state last March, according to MLive, a digital consortium of Michigan newspapers.

After the state’s same-sex marriage law was overturned, about 300 marriages were performed before the ruling was stayed. The federal government already is recognizing those marriages.

The 6th Circuit overturned the ruling and the case will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court, although the date has not been set.

A federal injunction set to take effect on Thursday, Feb. 5, required the state to recognize those marriages and Snyder announced the state would not appeal.

—  David Taffet

Third Republican signs onto Respect for Marriage Act


Rep. Robert Dold

Rep. Robert Dold, R-Ill., today (Monday, Feb. 2) signed on as a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, according to a statement released by Freedom to Marry.

Dold joins Republican co-sponsors Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York, raising the total to three Republican co-sponsors.

The Respect for Marriage Act was reintroduced on Jan. 6 and would ensure that the federal government respects all valid marriages across every single federal agency.

“This legislation is an important step toward ensuring that the federal government upholds its obligation to afford equal protection for all Americans. Washington should no longer stand in the way of loving unions between two people that have already been legally recognized in states like the one I represent,” Dold said in the statement.

“The growth of support among Republicans for the freedom to marry shows that America is, indeed, ready to turn the page on past discrimination and that it is time for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution,” said Evan Wolfson, president and founder of Freedom to Marry, of Dold’s decision. “Congressman Dold is doing the right thing for his party, as well as for families and the American people.”

Even as marriage equality has swept the nation, legally married same-sex couples face obstacles to obtaining Social Security and veterans’ benefits as mandated by federal law. If a same-sex couple is legally married but lives in or moves to a state that doesn’t respect the marriage, they cannot share in these programs. If passed, the Respect for Marriage Act would fix this inequity with a provision that requires the federal government to respect all legal marriages for the purposes of all federal programs.

—  James Russell