A group of conservative lawmakers gathered in the Texas state Capitol this week for a wedding cake cutting ceremony, but the reason for the event has many people up in arms.
The lawmakers were celebrating the 10th anniversary of a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. In 2005, lawmakers pushed through an amendment stating that Texas would only recognize marriage as “the union of one man and one woman.”
The picture showing a smiling group of lawmakers went viral after it was posted to a Facebook page that belongs to the conservative group Texas Values.
“Today at our Faith and Family Day celebration we honored the 10th anniversary of Texas’ marriage amendment defining marriage as #1Man1Woman.We are thankful to have so many great Texas legislators committed to standing for marriage,” the caption read. “No doubt Texas is committed to defending marriage!”
The picture caused quite a stir, with many commenters criticizing the conservative lawmakers for standing in the way of progress.
“Smile wide, ladies and gents,” wrote Marie Harang. “You are on the wrong side of history, and in 30 the picture of those gleeful smiles will be shown in history textbooks as an example of our state’s history of bigotry and hate.”
Some compared the support of a gay marriage ban to previous legislation that once banned interracial unions.
Others decided to turn the attention from the Facebook post into a chance to highlight the homophobia that still exists across many parts of Texas. Many posted pictures of young gay men who had been beaten for their sexual orientation, with messages about how the cake-cutting ceremony only feeds into that hate.
While an increasing number of states have accepted gay marriage and legalized these unions, Texas remains a battleground. In one recent case, California transplant Connie Wilson was denied a Texas driver’s license because the state would not recognize the validity of her same-sex union from her home state.
According to KTRK in Houston, Wilson took her wife Annie’s name when they were married, but a DMV official would not recognize their marriage license as a form of identification.
While Texas remains one of just 13 states that do not allow same-sex marriages, some of the conservative lawmakers at the cake-cutting ceremony actually want to take anti-gay statutes even further. Rep. Cecil Bell, the one seen holding the knife in the picture, is introducing a bill that would withhold pay from government employees who help to issue a same-sex marriage license.
[Image via Texas Values Facebook page]