Concerning the passing of Texas State Constitutional Amendment, Proposition 2
Press release issued: November 5, 2005
The Atheist Community of Austin is dismayed by the passing of Proposition 2,
the amendment to the Texas State Constitution concerning same-sex marriage.
The amendment was proposed and championed by Christian conservatives who
framed the issue as religious, despite the fact that same-sex, state-granted
marriage is a civil rights issue. The State of Texas has never been in the
business of sanctifying marriage. Christian conservatives successfully
marshaled the votes of believers who were misinformed and manipulated with
fear about what was at stake with regard to marriage.
In denying the contractual rights of a minority of Americans, Christians
have used their religious beliefs and sheer numbers for the purposes of
religious persecution. America is a constitutional republic where the rights
of minorities are not appropriate subjects for majority votes. The US
Constitution is on the side of same-sex relationships for both equal
protection (14th amendment) and the free exercise of their religion (1st
amendment). We predict that when prohibitions against same-sex marriage are
successfully overturned on constitutional grounds, as were interracial
marriage bans in the 1960s, religious conservatives will cry "judicial
activism" and persecution of their beliefs. Despite their shrill claims,
the religious liberties of conservative Christians have never had their
rights threatened by the possibility same-sex marriage. In contrast,
minority religions have been adversely affected by same-sex marriage bans
through the tyranny of the majority. Religious freedom is a founding concept
of this country, but it has been trampled upon.
The benefits of marriage should be available to all consenting adults who
desire marriage and who are willing to undertake the rights and
responsibilities of marriage. The poorly written amendment is vindictive
toward a minority of Americans and their children. Far from being
"pro-family", the passage of the amendment will harm the children of gays and
lesbians, and it interferes with their earned benefits. The amendment
weakens the Texas economy by making it more difficult for Texas business to
attract skilled workers. Legal challenges over the vague wording of the
amendment will likely waste millions of taxpayer dollars.
The Atheist Community of Austin encourages Christians and other believers to
examine their collective impact on the world and focus their attention on
issues that are truly disruptive to our nation and the world, such as
government corruption, education of our children, addressing poverty and
health care, and care for the environment. While fomenting hate is a means
of mobilizing the vote and reelecting conservative politicians, it does
nothing to improve the world.
The Atheist Community of Austin is organized as a nonprofit educational
corporation to develop and support the atheist community, to provide
opportunities for socializing and friendship, to promote secular viewpoints,
to encourage positive atheist culture, to defend the first amendment
principle of state-church separation, to oppose discrimination against
atheists and to work with other organizations in pursuit of common goals.
For more information about the Atheist Community of Austin or to read our
position on the same-sex marriage, see our web site at
http://www.atheist-community.org or call 512-371-2911 (voice mail).
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