Your marriage could be in jeopardy. That's the message some state groups are sending. Groups like 'Save Texas Marriage' are calling voters telling them to vote against Proposition 2, the constitutional amendment that defines marriage between a man and woman. Opponents say if you vote "yes" you could not only ban gay marriage, but you might nullify all Texas marriages. NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel explains what you need to know before you hit the polls.
It's the language of the Proposition that has caused controversy all over the state of Texas. It's definitely an issue that voters need to understand before casting their ballot. Proposition 2 begins saying marriage should be solely between one man and one woman. The controversy is in the next part that says it would prohibit the state from "creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage."
State Representative Delwin Jones says, "There should be a very specific definition that marriage is between a man and a woman." Jones co-authored the marriage amendment, and he says the language is black and white. "One of the reasons we tried to spell it out specifically that marriage would be between a man and a woman period is that courts have been interpreting laws in other states in rather strange fashion."
When we took the Proposition to the streets, people had a definite opinion about gay marriage, but said it was hard to understand where the controversy was coming from.
Using the language against traditional marriages is what the group Save Texas Marriages says will happen if the Proposition passes. On their web-site it says, "by leaving out key words, legislators are invalidating all marriage." The web site uses examples from Utah and Kentucky where the language applied specifically to homosexuals.
Delwin Jones says, "If it should prove to be correct, that there is some foul up in it, we can adjust it and correct it at the next session."
Other opposing groups say a "yes" vote could hurt health care benefits for gay families. Advocates say that just isn't true.
And because of the controversy, this Proposition was actually sent to the Attorney General's office for review. According to State Representative Carl Isett, the legal experts confirmed traditional and common law marriage would not be jeopardized with the current language in the amendment.
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