Texas being a large cosmopolitan state is frequently faced by various political issues. Among the most pronounced issues is equality in marriage. Marriage refers to the procedure used by two people who are in a relationship to make the relationship open, official, and enduring (Gilreath 12). Marriage involves a legal contract which dictates various rights along with obligations for all members affected by the union. This paper aims at looking at how people in the city of Texas address the issue of marriage.
In most cases, marriage is usually between adult men and adult women. However, on June 26, 2015 the law allowing for marriage of same sex was passed in the United States (Kimmel, Aronson, and Kimmel 9). This implies that men are now allowed to marry fellow men, while women marry fellow women. Texas being one of the states of America is not exempt from the law. This has aroused mixed reaction from people living in Texas as well as Texas authority over time.
A few hours after the ruling in June 2015, same sex couples were obtaining their licenses for marriage from various counties in Texas. However, some of the counties refused to issue licenses to the couples of same sex claiming that they were awaiting direction to be issued by state officials (Gilreath 23). Other counties claimed they were waiting for advice from the local county attorney. Moreover, some counties claimed to be waiting for issuance of the state forms of marriage licenses that had been corrected. Furthermore, some judges and local officials refused to give certificates of marriage to same sex couples basing their argument on the religious beliefs.
Among the influential personalities in the state of Texas who opposed the newly introduced law was Ken Paxton, an Attorney General. He defied the law by refusing to grant licenses for same sex marriage. One of the counties in Texas which has refused to issue such licenses is Irion County (“Documenting Intimate Matters” 10). Notably, there are influential personalities who fulfill the law in Texas. One of those is Orlando Garcia who is a Judge at United States District Court for The Western District of Texas.
According to Judge Garcia, the ban set by some counties in Texas on same sex marriage is unconstitutional. Another influential personality, who holds the same opinion as Judge Garcia, is Barbara Nellermoe who is a Judge at the 45th Judicial District Court of Bexar County. Even with such eavy opposition from two judges, Irion County and three other counties in Kentucky have held their position against issuance of marriage licenses to couples who are of same sex.
In various surveys conducted in Texas about the new law of the marriage of people of same sex a division in opinion of people is realized. A survey by University of Texas shows that 42% of people are in support of the law, 47% oppose the law, while 11% of Texas population have no opinion about the new law (“Documenting Intimate Matters” 16). Another survey done by New York Times shows that 37% of people in Texas support the new law, 50% of citizens living in Texas oppose the new law, while 14% have no opinion about the law.
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It is important to note, though, that Texas state has a law which monitors specifically hate crimes. The law is meant to work for strengthening penalties against various crimes which are motivated by the sexual orientation of a victim. Unfortunately, the law does not include gender identity as a part of hate crimes. Moreover, even with the countrywide passing of the law supporting marriage of people of same sex, Texas state has no law that bans discrimination of gay men, lesbian women as well as bisexual along with transgender people (Gilreath 28). In theory, though, there are various ordinances which provide a number of protections by law and settlements to gay men, lesbian women as well as bisexual along with transgender people. These ordinances are, however, not enforced.
Since the new laws were issued by the United States Supreme Court, opposing the law was a highly unexpected move. This is because the law allowing marriage of people of same sex was a constitutional decision. Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court gives the final word on interpretation of any laws in the Constitution. This implies that courts have very limited authority in enforcing personal decisions. Effectiveness of any decisions taken by the courts, therefore, rely on the willingness of federal government’s support.
In Texas, introduction of the laws that allow marriage of people of same sex varies depending on the influence. However, recognition and acceptance of marriage between people of same sex is highly a political issue as well as a social concern (“Documenting Intimate Matters” 18). In most cases, religious believes are attached to how people perceive marriages between people of same sex. This is one of the reasons why it is hard for the citizens within Texas state along with leaders of the state to have a homogeneous opinion about marriages of people of same sex.
The people who are in support of the law argue that the law gives protection to such couples by allowing them to have the right to inherit property from their spouses as well as enjoy visitation by their spouses whenever they are in hospital wards. On the other hand, those against the law argue that it erodes the freedoms offered by religion and, moreover, it undermines children rights of being raised by both a biological mother and a biological father, hence erodes the marriage institution itself.
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Notably, it can be seen that a majority of citizens and people in authority at Texas state highly oppose the law for issuing marriage licenses to couples of the same sex. This can be proven by the campaign forum used by Texas Republican Party to win the elections. In its campaigns, the first promise was to oppose laws for marriage between same sex couples (Kimmel, Aronson, and Kimmel 19). The man spearheading these campaigns was Rick Perry, a Republican Governor. Governor Perry also went ahead to dismiss the decision made by the United States Supreme Court concerning the matter.
In conclusion, a close analysis at the arguments provided by two sides, one supporting and one opposing the law, shows that all arguments are based on personal interests. The people supporting the law are either of the opinion that the State has the Constitution and the Constitution has to be followed to the letter. Such people are either attorneys or judges who are interested in proving their legal superiority by the use of law. The second opinion is that people who are benefiting from the law are human, hence it is important to treat them as such. This opinion is given by people who are going to benefit from the law or people who have members of their families who will directly benefit. On the other hand, the people opposing the law are basing their argument on religious matters and morality of the culture maintained by society. People who base their arguments on religion are either staunch on religion and are finding the decision demeaning their teachings, or they are finding the laws as bad influence to their children. As for people who are basing their argument on morality of society, they are mainly afraid that their children will at one day be affected by the laws by practicing the particulars of the laws themselves.