In a unanimous and historic vote this morning, the Austin City Council resoundingly endorsed gay marriage, becoming the first city in the nation's most populous conservative state to do so.
The council's blistering resolution had a number of gems, including:
WHEREAS, the Obama administration announced on February 23, 2011 that the U.S. Justice Department would no longer defend DOMA's denial of federal recognition to married same-sex couples in federal court, and;Despite the amendment passed in 2005, it's clear that – even in Texas – attitudes are changing. Perhaps so much so that, in the not-too-distant future, the state's discriminatory amendment could find itself falling to the wayside.
WHEREAS, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, the District of Columbia, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, and Maryland have now legalized marriage for same-sex couples; and
WHEREAS, efforts by the State of Texas to prohibit marriage recognition of same-sex couples are discriminatory and undermine the moral integrity of our citizens; and
WHEREAS, the State of Texas' adoption of a state Constitutional amendment limiting marriage and civil unions to one man and one woman is inconsistent with the City of Austin's commitment to equal rights and opportunities for its residents and employees; and
WHEREAS, recent polls show that allowing same-sex couples to marry is now supported by a majority of Americans and in 2010 a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll showed that 63% of Texans now support some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, either marriage or civil unions, thereby demonstrating a major shift in public opinion on this subject among Americans, and Texans in particular, since the Texas Constitutional Marriage Amendment was adopted in 2005; and
WHEREAS, more than 175 mayors from 32 states, including the mayors of several cities including Austin, Galveston, Houston and San Antonio in Texas, have signed a petition in support of marriage equality; and
WHEREAS, all couples in loving and committed relationships should be given the opportunity to create stronger and more successful families through civil marriage...NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUCIL OF THE CITY OF AUSTIN:
That we support marriage equality in the State of Texas.
Said Chuck Smith, the interim director of Texas Equality:
“Texas is not different than the rest of the country in terms of its evolution on the freedom to marry...The initial pushback we get from opponents is, ‘We settled this in 2005, what don’t you understand?’This is no longer 2005. This is no longer a mere seven years earlier. This is evidence that evolution on the issue continues its rapid ascent.
And the reality is that 2012 is not the same as 2005. There are hundreds of thousands if not millions of people who have had some sort of personal evolution on this issue… who now recognize that the world is not going to end and [equal rights] will not affect their relationship.”