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Texas Accidentally Bans Straight Marriage

Law designed to forbid gay civil unions actually bars any unions
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2009 7:28 AM CST
Texas Accidentally Bans Straight Marriage
Jenna Bush celebrates with her new husband, Henry Hager, following their marriage at the Bush family's Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas, Saturday, May 10, 2008.   (AP Photo/The White House/Shealah Craighead)

The geniuses who wrote Texas’ gay marriage ban may have accidentally banned all marriage in the state, according to one Houston lawyer. Subsection B of the ban, a constitutional amendment ratified in 2005, states, “This state…may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.” The intent was to prevent even civil unions for gay couples—but it doesn’t actually specify the “gay” part.

The wording essentially “eliminates marriage in Texas,” Barbara Ann Radnofsky, the Democratic candidate for state attorney general tells the McClatchy Papers. “You do not have to have a fancy law degree to read this and understand what it plainly says.” Conservatives scoffed at Radnofsky’s tactics. “It’s a silly argument,” said the head of an organization that helped draft the amendment. A lawsuit based on it would have “about one chance in a trillion” of succeeding. (More Texas stories.)

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