Bil Browning

Deep in the heart(s) of Texas

Filed By Bil Browning | October 02, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: gay couples, gay divorce, same-sex couples, Texas, University of North Texas

Two bits of Texas news for those doing the two-step.

Texas1.jpgA Texas judge has declared the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and is granting two Dallas men the state's first same-sex divorce. The lawyers for the case say they're "ecstatic," not something you'd usually here in a divorce case.

Dallas state district judge Tena Callahan ruled that two men married in Massachusetts could be divorced in Texas, a state with a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Callahan declared that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violated equal protection under the law.

Of course, the University of North Texas' student government turned down a request to allow same-sex couples to run for positions on the Homecoming Court. Five members voted to allow them, ten against, and eight abstained. Nothing says "coward" quite like "abstain."

The bill generated considerable controversy among students, parents and alumni.

After the bill was introduced last week, the SGA office received numerous phone calls and e-mails from people threatening to withdraw their support and their students, SGA president Dakota Carter said.

Carter and student senate speaker Drew Robertson reminded the senators several times to speak civilly.

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The U of North Texas used to be very diversity-friendly. For a number of years, the campus hosted an annual women's diversity conference at which I was usually one of the key speakers. Lesbian and transgender issues were on the agenda, along with racial, ethnic, domestic violence and workplace issues that face women. It was the kind of event that you just didn't expect to find in Texas, and I always felt very excited to participate.

The conference is still being held, though it looks (from the press releases I've seen) as though the discussions of sexual orientation and gender issues have disappeared. The event now looks like it focuses on issues that concern heterosexual women of color, both black and Hispanic. Yet according to the school's website, there is still a GLBTA group on campus, that is very active and attended the "Creating Change" event in Dallas.

If this uproar about the Homecoming Court is a sign that homophobia is becoming more prevalent on that campus, this is very sad. It's a step backwards for acceptance of open LGBT people in Texas.