The Brilliant, Possibly Illegal Way Texas Universities Could Override the State’s Marriage Ban

We’ve heard of colleges trying to attract more gay students by scouring applications for homo-bits and holding gay recruiting fairs. But now Texas A&M’s Faculty Senate is courting gay professors by passing a resolution to extend health benefits to same-sex partners 59 to 1. The only problem? That one vote knows something all those other smarty-pants professors don’t—the faculty’s proposing something illegal that could threaten overturn the state’s homophobic policies.

The proposal suggests that gay professors be allowed to identify their same-sex partner as a dependent on the school’s health insurance forms, which would be great — except for what that lone dissenting vote means.

The single nay belongs to computer science professor Walter Daugherity. He says \the Texas insurance code only allows a “spouse and/or child” to be listed as a dependent. He added that the state legislature would have to change the definition of “dependent” to include any qualified individuals, something the schools cannot do.

However, those disagreeing with Daugherity claim the university has the power to interpret “dependents” however their insurance needs require, and ultimately to challenge the law in court because the state should have an interest in helping taxpayer-funded educational institutions further state aims. In this case the state should want the universities to stay competitive by attracting high-quality candidates, gay or straight—it’s dreadfully exciting stuff.

Texas A&M isn’t alone in its aims. The 21 department chairs in the University of Texas liberal arts college signed a similar resolution just last week. And with Texas’s two largest state schools pressuring courts to extend same-sex benefits to unmarried partners, the professors may have figured out an egghead way to eventually overthrow the state’s homophobic constitutional ban on same-sex marriages through the judicial system.

Is A&M’s Faculty Senate resolution likely to do this all on its own? Hardly, but coupled with other recent developments in Texas (such as the election of gay Houston mayor Annise Parker, the allowing of a lesbian divorce, and inquiries into police gay-abuses) the state continues its slow mosey towards an eventual showdown between bigots and queers.

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  • hephaestion

    Why is Matthew McConnaughey wearing a “We are gay” t-shirt?

  • Chitown Kev

    Sheeit, I wish he was.

    I would lick McConaughey from head to toe and then some.

  • Gay Marriage Now

    I think Queerty is trying to hint at something. There have been rumors about Matthew McConnaughy for years.

  • Lamar

    I don’t think the “allowing of a lesbian divorce” counts as real progressive development, after all the bigots didn’t want them to get married in the first place.

  • hephaestion

    @K.: Wow, they photoshopped the whole magazine cover! How disappointing! And how silly and pointless and misleading of Queerty to do that!

  • alan brickman

    Superhawt Matt can save the masses…..he’d have no problem playing gay ….

  • corrective_unconscious

    Matthew McConnaughy is a preening closet case of the first order, prancing around on the beach and at college football games shirtless while changing beards more often than circus sideshow lady. He’s repulsive.

  • corrective_unconscious

    (In my opinion! smirk)

  • head

    Sorry to burst your little bubble, but the university’s actions won’t threaten to overturn anything. Universities in anti-marriage states have been trying to extend SSP benefits to their employees for years. All that will happen is the powers that be will simply tell the Texas universities “no, taxpayer funded schools cannot extend benefits to SSP’s” … End of discussion.

  • concernedcitizen

    Who ever post this needs to be FIRED!!! Any logical person could easily spot the irrational premise of this post! Consider:The Brilliant, Possibly Illegal Way Texas Universities Could Override the State’s Marriage Ban…
    Obviously if it were illegal than it would NOT OVERRIDE the state’s marriage ban as that would invalidate the proposal…
    It’s the same as saying, I found a way to override the law but it involves breaking the law… WTF!?! This blog is becoming more and more an anathema and go ahead hit the red thumbs down but the fact is this post is ridiculous!

  • Seth

    @concernedcitizen: You don’t seem to realize that we have a multi-branched government with checks and balances. If the courts rule a law is unconstitutional then the law is stricken. If the university takes the legislature to court and win then the law is stricken. This is a beautiful idea and if universities nation-wide do this with as strong a force (every single department-head?! wow!) then I see great strides without the help of those pathetic elected officials of ours.

  • SebbyFTL

    Texas amazes me…wasn’t it the state that overturned so-called Sodomy Laws in 2003 while Bush was in office? I think they are more liberal than we give them credit.

  • concernedcitizen

    @Seth: Your absolutely right! but that would involve invalidating the statute which means it wasn’t constitutional in the first place my problem is them stating that this proposal would “override” the marriage ban… it can’t do that

    If someone were to file a lawsuit and challenge the constitutionality of the ban that could invalidate it but no rube proposal would do that! The courts would!

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