What’s Brewing: Yet another poll shows majority of Texans back gay marriage or civil unions

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. For at least the fifth time in the last two years, a poll has shown that a solid majority of Texans support legal recognition of same-sex relationships, whether it be marriage or civil unions. A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Wednesday found that 61 percent of Texans support same-sex marriage or civil unions. The poll found that 30 percent support same-sex marriage, 31 percent support civil unions, and 33 percent oppose any form of relationship recognition, with 6 percent unsure. The poll of 800 registered voters was conducted earlier this month and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. Previous polls dating back to 2009 have found similar support for legal recognition of same-sex relationships. Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2005 outlawing both same-sex marriage and civil unions.

2. El Paso’s decision to strip domestic partner benefits for city employees is a step backward and could hurt the city economically, according to a business expert and some city officials. A federal judge last week upheld the results of a November ballot initiative that will take away benefits for 19 gay and unmarried partners of city employees, as well as many others. One council member is proposing an ordinance to reinstate the benefits, while another says the city should put the issue back on the ballot this year. Read more from the El Paso Times.

3. The number of reported hate crimes in Texas increased 2.4 percent in 2010, according to KENS Channel 5 in San Antonio. The story doesn’t provide a breakdown of how many of the offenses were based on sexual orientation or other factors such as race, and hate crime statistics from 2010 haven’t been posted on the FBI website. KENS interviews the mother and sister of Troy Martinez Clattenburg, a gay man who was murdered last year after he allegedly made a pass at a straight acquaintance. Watch video below.

—  John Wright

Clattenburg murder in San Antonio designated a hate crime

Troy Martinez Clattenburg
Troy Martinez Clattenburg

San Antonio police are finally treating the murder of Troy Martinez Clattenburg as a hate crime.

Dallas Voice reported on the Feb. 21 murder and that San Antonio police were not treating this murder as a hate crime. They have still not charged an accomplice.

Cody Carmichael confessed to the murder and said he committed the crime because of unwanted sexual advances. The San Antonio Express-News reported police said the case “lacked elements to prove a hate crime occurred.” However, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act provides funding to police departments specifically to investigate crimes of this type and find a link, if one exists.

Carmichael had left Clattenburg’s apartment and returned later to kill him with a gun provided by another man. That man has not been charged in connection with the killing.

Clattenburg’s sister and members of Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio recently met with San Antonio police and hate crime charges were added this week.

—  David Taffet