Thursday, November 19, 2009

This Queer Little Planet: Texas Gay Marriage Ban Puts All Marriages in Legal Limbo

Karma: it's not just for Hindus any more. 

Texas candidate for attorney general, Barbara Ann Radnofsky, has revealed that the 2006 amendment to the Texas state constitution banning same-sex marriage may have put all marriages performed in the Lone Star State at risk due to a poorly worded phrase in the discriminatory law.

The Star-Telegram Reports:

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state.

The amendment, approved by the Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by voters, declares that "marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman." But the troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:

"This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage."

Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. But Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively "eliminates marriage in Texas," including common-law marriages.
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