Texas lawmakers focus efforts on prejudice

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Staff Editorial

The same-sex marriage battle is in full swing, especially in Texas. The Lone Star State will soon have to join in and approve marriage equality. The Brookhaven College Courier staff has long been a supporter of equality, and gay marriage is no exception.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments in four petitions from Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and Michigan. The nine justices are expected to make a final ruling this June.

Thirty-seven states now allow same-sex marriage. It’s about time Texas gets on the same page.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on the rejection of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act on June 26, 2013. The court ruled that married gay couples are entitled to federal benefits identical to those of male-female couples. As victorious as the ruling was, it was not enough to garner a nationwide gay marriage sanction.

Back in the Bible Belt, some lawmakers, such as Texas Rep. Cecil Bell (R), seem to believe religion is justification for discrimination. Bell’s House Bill 4105 would suppress any rulings from the Supreme Court and force county clerks to violate federal law by refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Arguments against same-sex marriage are almost always founded on someone’s religious concepts. What happened to “loving thy neighbor?” Other absurd arguments include marriage equality opening the floodgates for people seeking matrimony with a non-consenting animal, polygamy and incest.

First of all, comparing bestiality with consenting adults is a slap in the face to the fight for equal rights. Also, the polygamy and incest discussion is an entirely separate debate that may one day have to be heard, but for now, the argument is about same-sex couples and transgender couples who have not changed their gender markers.

But the angst is not about religion; The Courier also supports religious freedom. Our problem is with individuals not respecting one another.

Our staff is a diverse one. We have journalists from different backgrounds, races, sexualities, gender identities and religions. It hurts to think some of these hard-working individuals are not considered equal in the eyes of Texas lawmakers and citizens.

It is exhausting watching taxpayers’ money wasted on a failing fight. Money used to support the fight against same-sex marriage could be put to better use on major problems, such as the horrific education system in Texas.

According to Education Week, Texas ranks 39 for education in the nation with a score of C minus. We would much rather lawmakers concentrate their time and our money on fixing this perpetual problem.

Instead, we must endure a cycle of discrimination targeted at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens of Texas.

The Courier staff believes in the separation of church and state and a legislation that recognizes human rights. Equal rights are not just for some – they are for everyone.