Voters agree to ban gay marriage
By LPR Staff
Surprising numbers of Caldwell County voters turned out for the Constitutional Amendment Election on Tuesday. More than 3,500 voters went to the polls to make their voices heard on Election Day, along with nearly 1,000 that participated in early voting.
“We had very good turnout compared to the normal turnout for an amen
dment election,” said Caldwell County Tax Assessor-Collector Mary Vickie Gonzales, the election administrator. “Most of the interest was probably because of Proposition 2.”
Proposition 2, the highly contentious “gay marriage ban” drew a total of 4,517 votes, more than any other ballot issue, indicating that some voters chose to vote on that issue alone.
Caldwell County”s opinion showed resounding support for the amendment, which limits the legal definition of marriage to “the union between one man and one woman.” More than 78 percent of the votes cast support the amendment.
Statewide response to the “gay marriage ban” was similar, with 76.1 percent of voters supporting the amendment.
This amendment to the Texas Constitution forbids state or local governments from recognizing any relationship status – other than marriage – that would offer a couple the rights or protections offered by marriage.
Opponents of the ban fear that the amendment will not only affect same-sex couples, but could also be interpreted in a way that would damage common-law marriages.
“It sends a message to all of Congress that a huge part of the population is in favor of this,” said state representative Warren Chisum, a Republican from Pampa, about 40 miles east of Amarillo. Chisum was the legislative sponsor of the amendment.
With the approval of Proposition 2, Texas became the 19th state to enact a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
State and local voters were overwhelmingly in favor of an amendment allowing judges to deny bail for repeat offenders.
The amendment, dubbed Proposition 4, leaves it to a judge”s discretion to deny bail for criminal defendants in the event they violate the conditions of their release prior to trial.
In other election news, Texas voters narrowly approved an amendment creating a state-administered fund for the relocation of privately and publicly owned rail lines. More than 54 percent of Caldwell County”s voters were against this measure.
Under state law, cities will now be allowed to issue long-term grants and loans for economic development. Voters on the statewide and local levels were evenly split on this issue, which passed by a narrow (51 percent to 49 percent) margin statewide. In Caldwell County, around 49 percent of voters supported the amendment.
Other approved amendments will allow for line-of-credit advances on reverse mortgages, added two members to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct and cleared the titles on parcels of land in Smith and Upshur Counties.
Voters shot down amendment proposals extending the term for regional mobility authority board members and allowing the legislature to define interest rates for certain commercial loans.