Press Releases

Gov. Greg Abbott has responded to a recent letter from Secular Texas requesting that he end his personal war on marriage equality in Texas. The governor had one of his employees respond:

 

“While [Gov. Abbott] believes there are good and decent people on both sides of this issue, Governor Abbott believes in traditional marriage, a belief he shares with the majority of Texans. The governor will continue to support and defend Article 1, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution, which states that marriage consists ‘only of the union of one man and one woman’ and was approved by nearly three quarters of Texas voters in 2005.”

Secular Texas never attempted to address the governor’s personal beliefs. We were inquiring into his duties as the governor of Texas. Here is how we are responding:

Gov. Abbott,

Thank you for your response in regards to my letter asking you to end your war on marriage equality in Texas. In the response written by one of your employees, it is mentioned that you “believe” in “traditional marriage.” While I respect your right to your own personal beliefs, I was not inquiring as to your beliefs, but intended to address your duties as Governor of the State of Texas.

In your oath taking on the responsibilities of the Governor of Texas, you vowed that you would “to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and law of the United States and of this State...”

Section 3 of the Texas Bill of Rights states, “All free men, when they form a social compact, have equal rights, and no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive separate public emoluments, or privileges, but in consideration of public services.”

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; … nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Both the Texas Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States, both of which you are sworn to uphold, guarantee that all citizens will be treated equally under the law, with no special privileges given to any person or group over another. As I requested in my original letter, I would like you to stand by your oath of office and uphold the constitutions of the United States and Texas, and one of the most fundamental guarantees of our society, that all citizens will be treated equally under the law.

Your personal beliefs, while you have the right to hold them and exercise them in your personal life, do not change the vow you freely took or the fact that you are governor for all of Texans -- whether hetero- or homosexual, Baptist or Episcopalian, religious or non-religious.

Respectfully,

by Clifton Stuckey

The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Section 3 of our Texas Constitution’s Bill of Rights both guarantee that all citizens are to be treated as equals under the law. This simple and elegant idea is a cornerstone of our free society and must be protected to ensure our personal freedoms.

While Secular Texas is a strong supporter of the rights of individuals to freedom of conscience and freedom of worship, those freedoms do not extend to the point of infringing on the Constitutionally guaranteed equal treatment of others under the law. All Texans are free to hold their own personal view of what defines a marriage. However, if the Texas government is to involve itself in marriage, as a legal institution, it must do so within the confines that the United States Constitution and the Texas Bill of Rights allows, treating all Texans as equals and extending equal protections to all under the law.

Broadening the legal definition of marriage does nothing to infringe on the rights of Texans to worship or believe as they see fit, nor their right to define marriage according to their personal beliefs. Our shared state government is not a tool to be used, not even by a majority of Texans, to deny equal protections and equal treatment under the law to our fellow citizens.

Secular Texas calls on Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton to end their war on the equal treatment of LGBTQ Texans under the law and uphold the promises of both the Texas Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States.

About Secular Texas

Secular Texas is a not-for-profit advocacy group that seeks to end state endorsement and legal enforcement of personal religious conviction, and promote a rational state government. For more information, please visit www.seculartexas.org.

Secular Texas has called on Governor Rick Perry to apologize for his comments regarding the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to admit gay scouts. Perry issued a statement last Thursday expressing his disappointment in the decision. Perry and Congressman Louie Gohmert went on the anti-gay Family Research Council's radio show the next day. Perry stated during the radio interview that God would hold the Boy Scouts of America accountable for its decision. Gohmert stated in the same interview that the decision of the Boy Scouts of America would lead to older gay scouts raping younger scouts.

By Rachel Harger
April 16, 2013
 

Austin, Tx - The Secular Legislative Action Committee (SLAC) will hold a rally and press conference to promote a more rational approach to state government on Monday, April 22nd at 12:30 pm in front of the Ten Commandments monument at the Texas Sate Capitol. SLAC is an ad hoc group of Texas citizens that advocates for the separation of church and state, and for public policy based on evidence and scientific knowledge.

Religion and personal beliefs play a large role in shaping legislation in Texas. However, according to a UT/Texas Tribune 2012 survey, twenty-one percent of Texans now consider themselves non-religious, up from twelve percent just five years ago. And according to the non-partisan Pew Research Center, thirty-three percent of Texans say religion is unimportant. With so many elected officials in Texas publicly endorsing their particular faith as a way to govern, secularists remain outside of the state’s legislative process. The Secular Legislative Action Committee is a citizens group organized to provide a voice for this fast growing segment of the population.

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