The Texas government has tried to stifle the progression of equality and found itself on the wrong side of history, again. Cue the shock and horror.
On March 13 three state representatives introduced a bill hoping to further marginalize same-sex couples. House Bill 4105 (HB 4105) aimed to negate a pro-same-sex marriage ruling by the Supreme Court. In layman’s terms, the bill would ban state employees from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, among other things. So, not only is HB 4105 a mean-spirited bill, it is unconstitutional as well.
The only vaguely realistic argument against same-sex marriage is states’ rights. Republicans are not threatened by my flamboyant lifestyle—they are threatened by the fact that the federal government is deciding against what they want. They attempt to claim states’ rights over any issue that is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution.
Granted, the 10th Amendment does give states sovereignty over things not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. However, the Supremacy Clause negates a large part of that power and authority.
The Supremacy Clause states the laws of the United States are supreme to that of state laws. After all, the Supreme Court has the final say when it comes to the Constitution, not the states.
So, Republicans know they are fighting an unwinnable battle on the wrong side of history as they claim states’ rights to appear though they are not bigoted. This is where Rep. Cecil Bell Jr., R-Magnolia, one of the authors of HB 4105, comes in.
Bell and his fellow Republicans in the Texas House were simply doing pure and patriotic work when they wrote this bill. These heroes are just fighting back against the tyrannical federal government who is trying to make this country better. It is not like the Declaration of Independence said every man is created equal or anything.
It still baffles me that our elected officials continue to push against the unyielding force that is equality. My hope is these people will go down in history much like the pro-segregationists of the past.
Thanks to the amazing House Democrats, the Texas House did not pass HB 4105. It was not because they convinced enough Republicans to vote against it, oh no. Instead, as the clock struck midnight and the day turned to May 15, the allotted time to pass the bill ran out. Effectively killing the bill.
Pretty scary to think it took parliamentary tactics to ensure equality instead of our elected officials voting for it. The Texas House was all ready to pass a bill which clearly would go against the ruling by a court which, dare I say, is supreme.
The Republicans—and Democrats, for that matter—should fight for issues that benefit people in this country, which is the point of their jobs. The quality of life for everybody, regardless of orientation, should be on their minds when writing bills—not misguided religious zeal.
The killing of this pro-inequality bill is a major victory for one of the country’s core values: equality. I hope legislators around the country no longer push bills promoting intolerance and discrimination. Equality should not be negotiable, no matter what. I have three words for every lawmaker in the world to think about when writing bills: let us live.
-Jeffrey Bradshaw is a political science junior.