broken law

Every Marriage Is Illegal In Texas, Says Texas’ Constitutional Amendment


Texas lawmakers wanted to make sure no gays could get married in the state. Unfortunately, a 2005 state constitutional amendment passed by the legislature has banned all marriage. Even for breeders.

That’s the legal theory of Houston lawyer Barbara Ann Radnofsky, the Democrat gunning for Texas Attorney General. The language of the 2005 amendment says “”marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” Fine, but there’s also this clause: “This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

If Radnofsky is reading that correctly, she says Texas just outlawed marriage for everyone in the state.

She calls it a “massive mistake” and blames the current attorney general, Republican Greg Abbott, for allowing the language to become part of the Texas Constitution. Radnofsky called on Abbott to acknowledge the wording as an error and consider an apology. She also said that another constitutional amendment may be necessary to reverse the problem.

“You do not have to have a fancy law degree to read this and understand what it plainly says,” said Radnofsky, who will be at Texas Christian University on Wednesday as part of a five-city tour to kick off her campaign.

Naturally, there are those who disagree.

“It’s a silly argument,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of the Liberty Legal Institute in Plano. Any lawsuit based on the wording of Subsection B, he said, would have “about one chance in a trillion” of being successful.

Shackelford said the clause was designed to be broad enough to prevent the creation of domestic partnerships, civil unions or other arrangements that would give same-sex couples many of the benefits of marriage.

Of course, finding flaws in the tenure of current AG Abbott is a great way for Radnofsky to make the competition look bad. But also: Uh, is she right?

A Texas judge already declared the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional because it’s discriminatory. But maybe the ban is just fine, if all other marriages are banned too.