Gay couples file motion to block state marriage amendment in Texas

Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss

Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss

An attorney representing two Texas gay couples filed a motion for temporary injunction Friday, requesting that state officials stop enforcing the state’s constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying.

Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano, joined by Austin couple Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman, are the plaintiffs in the case. Both couples met in San Antonio years ago, but while the lesbian couple later married out of state, they want their union recognized here, and Phariss and Holmes want to marry in Texas.

The motion, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio by attorney Barry Chasnoff, requests  the court prevent state officials from enforcing Article I, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution and corresponding provisions in the Texas Family Code that prevent same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses.

—  Dallasvoice

New Mexico: We won’t let the Rio Grande River flow into Texas anymore

rio-grandeSANTA FE — No water for you. That’s the message the state of New Mexico delivered to Texas in a statement Friday, saying it will no longer allow the Rio Grande River to continue its course into the Lone Star State.

“We were just sitting around, wishing we had something to do when we came up with this idea,” said New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. “We’ve never liked Texans anyway, so we always think it’s fun to come up with ways to tick them off. They come over here to our ski resorts, flashing their big money and ordering us around. Well, we’ll see how they like this.”

Engineers for the state say they will change the river’s course, diverting it to California instead. Why California?

“They’ve been really good to us, what with them making movies here and all,” Martinez said. “We thought this would be a nice way to say ‘thanks for your business.’”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry appeared perplexed when aides told him of New Mexico’s plans.

“Isn’t that a federal issue?” Perry asked. “New Mexico is a foreign country, isn’t it? That’s where all those illegals are coming from.”

After his staff schooled the governor on basic geography and history, Perry reportedly slammed his fist on the table and screamed, “Dagnabit.”

Without water from the Rio Grande, Texas would suffer severe economic, political and social hardships, officials say. The river supplies water to dozens of Texas cities, irrigates millions of acres and forms the border with Mexico.

“Not like it does us any good,” weighed in Sarah Palin, who drove her bus into Austin to console Perry. “Those Mexicans just traipse across the border like it’s not even there.”

Palin took a few days off from her “No Ambition” tour to assist Perry in devising a plan to combat New Mexico’s actions, telling Perry she was “locked and loaded.”

“We’re not gonna put up with this from those people,” Perry said. “Sarah told me I should move Texas National Guard troops to the New Mexico border to show ‘em we’re ready to march into their capital at Mexico City.”

At that point, Palin whispered into Perry’s ear.

“Oh, my bad,” Perry said. “I mean their capital at El Paso.”

—  Steve Ramos

Texas defies defense secretary’s order to register same-sex partners

Chuck Hagel

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

After Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered national guards in all states to register same-sex partners of military personnel for identification cards, three states including Texas continue to defy the federal government.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin responded by telling Hagel and President Barack Obama to “stop using the National Guard as a pawn in a larger social agenda.”

When the Department of Defense decided same-sex spouses would receive all of the same benefits as opposite-sex spouses in September, Texas refused to register same-sex partners and directed them to federal facilities. Eight other states followed Texas’ lead.

“Unfortunately, officials from at least three states, including Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia, have so far responded with open and blatant defiance of his [Hagel] order and have stated their intention to continue discriminating against gay and lesbian couples serving in the national guard,” said Stephen Peters, president of American Military Partner Association.

Oklahoma state Sen. Al McCaffrey was in Dallas over the weekend for the Black Tie Dinner. He suggested a way to get his state to comply was to threaten to pull equipment out of the state. While the National Guard is run by the state, most of the equipment it uses, including tanks, planes, guns and even the computer used to register military partners belongs to the federal government, he said.

—  David Taffet

Abbott mentions God, guns but not gays in announcing gubernatorial bid

Attorney General Greg Abbott

Greg Abbott supports government displays of the Ten Commandments.

In case you missed it, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott formally announced his campaign for governor in San Antonio on Sunday.

As we mentioned last week, Abbott’s record on LGBT issues is pretty awful. In fact, some would argue he’d be worse than Gov. Rick Perry on LGBT and other social issues.

Not only does Abbott adamantly oppose same-sex marriage, but he doesn’t think gay couples who’ve entered into legally recognized relationships in other states should be allowed to dissolve them in Texas. And he doesn’t think the same-sex domestic partners of government employees should be eligible for health benefits. His office has also been sued for alleged anti-gay employment discrimination.

Abbott intervened to stop a gay couple from dissolving a Vermont civil union in 2003. He would later intervene in an attempt to block two same-sex couples from obtaining divorces from their Massachusetts marriages. The divorce cases are still pending before the Texas Supreme Court.

“Marriage is not man-made law,” Abbott said, referring to the gay divorce cases in 2010 as he accepted the “Texas Guardian of the Family Award” from Vision America. “It’s man’s decision to adopt God’s law. Man cannot redefine God’s law, and yet they still try.”

Last year, Abbott issued an opinion saying he believes domestic partner benefits offered by local government entities violate the state’s 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. It’s an amendment Abbott has been criticized for allowing to pass because as worded it appears to outlaw heterosexual marriages, too. “This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage,” the amendment reads.

Also last year, Abbott signed a brief calling for the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act.

Of course, the high court went in the opposite direction, and polls show the majority of Americans agree with their decision. Which could help explain why there was no mention of same-sex marriage in Abbott’s announcement speech on Sunday — even as he touched on other Republican primary red meat wedge issues like God, guns and abortion.

—  John Wright