Governor Will Abide by Supreme Court Ruling
Morning News, June 26, 2003
Box 655237, Dallas, TX 75265
Fax: 972-263-0456, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Matt Stiles, The Dallas Morning News
KRT—Seven months after calling the state’s ban on gay
sex “appropriate,” Gov. Rick Perry plans to abide by a U.S. Supreme Court
ruling striking down the state law, a spokesman said Thursday.
The assertion by Perry’s office comes weeks after the
Legislature reasserted its interest in overseeing social behavior, prohibiting
legal recognition of same-sex unions.
“The Supreme Court has issued its ruling in this case,
and the state of Texas will abide by that decision,” said Perry spokesman
Gene Acuna, who declined to comment on the governor’s personal opinion of
the ruling overturning the Texas sodomy law.
Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, said some lawmakers probably
would study the decision to look for ways to rewrite the law—Section 21.06
of the penal code—to make it constitutional.
“I suspect that we’ll have a study group of
legislators that will sit down and see if something can be done about this,”
said Chisum, the House author of just-passed legislation governing civil
unions, called the Defense of Marriage Act.
But some observers of the ruling, from a 1998 case in
which two Houston-area men were arrested and later fined for engaging in sex
inside a home, said the court left lawmakers no room to maneuver.
“Matters of private consensual behavior.(are) outside
the bounds of state legislation. The court could not have been more clear
about that,” said Will Harrell, executive director of the American Civil
Liberties Union of Texas.
Harrell said he believed that the decision might have
broader implications on gay and lesbian rights, such as the right to same-sex
marriage or civil unions.
Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, said he believed the
Defense of Marriage Act would not be affected.
“That bill simply declared as public policy in the
state of Texas that marriage should be between one man and one woman,” said
Wentworth, the Senate sponsor of the marriage act.
Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, applauded the court’s
decision, saying it was long overdue.
“We must stop treating gays and lesbians as
second-class citizens in Texas,” he said in a prepared statement.
Reacting to the court’s decision in December to hear
the case, Perry told the Associated Press, “I think our law is appropriate
that we have on the books.”
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