Texas Congressman Lamar Smith plans to file ‘one man-one woman’ marriage bill this fall

Congressman Lamar Smith, R-Texas

Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, a Republican who represents a portion of Central Texas that includes, believe it or not, part of Travis County, is once again showing his way-right conservative roots — not to mention his lack of knowledge on the basic facts of world history.

According to the Christian news service One News Now, Smith has announced that he intends to introduce federal legislation this fall to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

In making the announcement, Smith told One News Now: “I think it’s important for Congress to go on record saying that we need to respect the traditional definition of marriage — to recognize a standard that has served all civilizations for thousands of years.” And that’s why I made the comment about his lack of knowledge of basic historical fact. Even the tiniest bit of research can show that the “one man, one woman” model is actually a fairly recent thing, in historical terms.

Anyway, Smith also said he will introduce the legislation in response to Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling on the California Prop 8 case, because his constituents are “somewhere between disturbed and outraged” by Walker’s ruling. And Smith poo-pooed the idea that LGBT people might have the constitutional right to marry whomever they want, saying, “Can you think of anything further from the minds of those who wrote the Constitution?”

(Actually, Congressman, I can think of several things that would horrify those authors of the Constitution, not the least of which would be seeing you and others like you use government to force religious beliefs on U.S. citizens.)

I am thinking we probably have some Instant Tea readers in Smith’s congressional district, District 21, which includes portions of Bexar and Travis counties and all of Comal, Real, Kerr, Bandera, Kendall and Blanco counties. So if you live in his district, you might want to contact his office, let him know that you are one of his constituents and tell him exactly what you think of his plan to introduce this legislation.

You can go here for contact information.

—  admin

How a Parker win fits into tapestry of LGBT elected officials

Annise Parker
Annise Parker

On Dec. 12, voters will decide if Houston will be the largest U.S. city with an openly gay or lesbian mayor. Annise Parker is running ahead in the polls and has won six previous citywide elections.

Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States after New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

New York’s mayor Ed Koch (1978-1989) is sometimes cited as gay, but he has never come out. Although L.A. has never had an openly gay mayor, West Hollywood does have one.

Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund lists 13 LGBT elected officials currently serving in Texas. That number includes three Dallas County officials — Jim Foster, county judge; Lupe Valdez, sheriff; and Gary Fitzsimmons, county clerk.

LGBT council members across the state include Joel Burns in Fort Worth and Sue Lovell in Houston. Lovell is in a runoff that will also be decided Saturday. Other cities with an LGBT council member are Austin, Pearland and Kemp.

Kemp, a city on Cedar Creek Lake southeast of Dallas, not only claims a gay councilmember, but also a gay mayor.

Travis County ties Dallas County with the most open LGBT elected officials at three each. In addition to Austin’s lesbian city council member, the county has a lesbian district attorney and justice of the peace. (And Kemp ties Houston for second place).

The other elected LGBT officials in Texas are a civil district judge and Parker, who is currently Houston’s controller.

Victory Fund lists 32 open LGBT mayors around the world. That list includes Jerry Birdwell who is Mayor Pro Tem in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. Birdwell, a former Dallas resident, was a district judge in Dallas in the 1990s.

Currently, the largest U.S. cities with gay mayors are Portland, Ore., and  Providence, R.I. Large European cities with gay or lesbian mayors are Berlin, Paris and Zurich.

Earlier this year, J.W. Lown, the gay mayor of San Angelo, resigned after being elected to a fourth term. His partner, a Mexican national, could not get a visa to remain in the United States so Lown moved to Mexico.

There are 85 openly LGBT state legislators in the U.S., but none in Texas. Three members of Congress are gay or lesbian.

—  David Taffet