Here is one Texas legislator who tells it like it is, Representative Senfronia Thompson. Read her words opposing a Texas constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
"HJR 6 Speech by Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston)
I have been a member of this august body for three decades, and today
is one of the all-time low points. We are going in the wrong direction,
in the direction of hate and fear and discrimination. Members, we all
know what this is about; this is the politics of divisiveness at its
worst, a wedge issue that is meant to divide.
Members, this issue is a distraction from the real things we need to be
working on. At the end of this session, this Legislature, this
Leadership will not be able to deliver the people of Texas, fundamental
and fair answers to the pressing issues of our day.
Let's look at what this amendment does not do: It does not give one
Texas citizen meaningful tax relief. It does not reform or fully fund
our education system. It does not restore one child to CHIP, who was
cut from health insurance last session. It does not put one dime into
raising Texas' Third World access to health care. It does not do one
thing to care for or protect one elderly person or one child in this
state. In fact, it does not even do anything to protect one marriage.
Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination. I know
something about hate and fear and discrimination. When I was a small
girl, white folks used to talk about "protecting the institution of
marriage" as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to
marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my
color hanging from a tree. That's what the white folks did back then to
"protect marriage." Fifty years ago, white folks thought inter-racial
marriages were a "threat to the institution of marriage."
Members, I'm a Christian and a proud Christian. I read the good book,
and do my best to live by it. I have never read the verse where it
says, "gay people can't marry." I have never read the verse where it says,
"thou shalt discriminate against those not like me." I have never read the
verse where it says, "let's base our public policy on hate and fear and
discrimination." Christianity to me is love and hope and faith and
forgiveness-- not hate and discrimination.
I have served in this body a lot of years-- and I have seen a lot of
promises broken. I should be up here demanding my 40 acres and a mule
because that's another promise you broke. You used a wealthy white
minister cloaked in the cloth to ease the stench of that form of
So, now that blacks and women can vote, and now that blacks and women
have equal rights-- you turn your hatred to homosexuals-- and you still
use your misguided reading of the Bible to justify your hatred. You
want to pass this ridiculous amendment so you can go home and brag--
brag about what? Declare that you saved the people of Texas from what?
Persons of the same sex cannot get married in this State now. Texas
does not now recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, religious
unions, domestic partnerships, contractual arrangements or Christian
blessings entered into in this State-- or anywhere else on this planet
If you want to make your hateful political statements then that is one
thing-- the Chisum amendment does real harm. It repeals the contracts
that many single people have paid thousands of dollars to purchase to
obtain medical powers of attorney, powers of attorney, hospital
visitation, joint ownership and support agreements. You have lost your
way-- this is obscene.
Today, you are playing to the lowest common denominator-- you are
putting aside the real issues of substance that we need to address so
that you can instead play on the public's fears and prejudices to
deceive and manipulate voters into thinking that we have done something
I realize that gay rights are not the same as civil rights-- but I can
guarantee you we are going in the wrong direction. I can not hide my
skin color. In fact, in most of the South, people as pink as Rep. Wayne
Smith were still Black by law if they had a great grandparent who was
African. I was unable to attend an integrated and equally funded school
until I got my Master of Laws degree. There were separate and unequal
facilities for nearly everything.
I got second-hand textbooks even worse than the kind you're trying to
pass off on every public school student next year. I had to ride to
school on the back of the bus. I had to quench my thirst from filthy
coloreds-only drinking fountains. I had to enter restaurants from the
kitchen door. I was banned from entering most public accommodations,
even from serving on a jury. I had to live with the fear that getting
too uppity could get you killed --- or worse. I know what third-class
citizenship feels like. In my first term, one of my colleagues walked
up and down this aisle muttering about how Nigras should be back in the
field picking cotton instead of picking out committees.
So, I have to wonder about Rep. Chisum's 3/5 of a person amendment.
Some of you folks hid behind your Bible then, too, to justify your
cultural prejudices, your denial of liberty, and your gunpoint robbery
of human dignity.
We have worked hard at putting our prejudices against homosexuals in
law. We have denied them basic job protections. We have denied them and
their children freedom from bullying and harassment at school. We have
tried to criminalize their very existence. But, we have also absolved
them of all family duties and responsibilities: to care for and support
their spouses and children, to count their family's assets in
determining public assistance, to obtain health insurance for
dependents, to make end-of-life or necessary medical decisions for
their life partners--- sometimes even to visit in the hospital, even to
defend our own country. And then, we can stand on our two hind legs and
proclaim, "See, I told you homosexual families are unstable." And
nearly every one of you on this Floor has a homosexual in their
Some of you have shunned and isolated these family members. Some of
you, even some of the joint coauthors, have embraced them within your
own family for the essence of Christianity is love. Yet,you are now
poised to constitutionalize discrimination against a particular class
of people. I thought we would be debating real issues: education,
health care for kids, teacher's health insurance, health care for the
elderly, protecting survivors of sexual assault, protecting the
pensions of seniors in nursing homes.
I thought we would be debating economic development, property tax relief,
protecting seniors pensions and stem cell research, to save lives of Texans
who are waiting for a more abundant life. Instead we are wasting this body's
time with this political stunt that is nothing more than constitutionalizing
discrimination. The prejudices exhibited by members of this body
Last week, Republicans used a political wedge issue to pull kids-- sweet
little vulnerable kids-- out of the homes of loving parents and put them
back in a state orphanage just because those parents are gay. That's
disgusting. Today, we are telling homosexuals that just like people of
my ilk, when I was a small child; they too are second class citizens.
I have listened to all the arguments. I have listened to all of the crap.
Mr. Chisum, is a person who I consider my good friend and revere. But,
I want you to know that this amendment is blowing smoke to fuel the
hell-fire flames of bigotry.
You are trying to protect your constituents from danger. This amendment
is a CYB amendment for you to go home and talk about."