Conservative Texas and the fight for gay marriage

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Suzanne Bryant (left) and Sarah Goodfriend hold up their marriage license after a press conference Feb. 19. They became the first same-sex couple to marry in Texas on Thursday morning. (Mariana Munoz | AP)

Suzanne Bryant (left) and Sarah Goodfriend hold up their marriage license after a press conference Feb. 19. They became the first same-sex couple to marry in Texas on Thursday morning. (Mariana Munoz | AP)

In the fight for gay marriage, Texas District Judge David Wahlberg made a monumental decision to issue a same-sex marriage license to Sarah Goodfriend, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and Suzanne Bryant because this couple may not get the chance to hear the potential Supreme Court ruling this spring.

Goodfriend and Bryant are the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license from the Texas government. However, Texas Att. Gen. Ken Paxton has made it clear that he won’t allow this decision to change Texas law.

“The law of Texas has not changed, and will not change due to the whims of any individual judge or county clerk operating on their own capacity anywhere in Texas,” Paxton said.

According to the Washington Post, Paxton issued a statement saying, “Activist judges don’t change Texas law and we will continue to aggressively defend the laws of our state and will ensure that any licenses issued contrary to law are invalid.”

With conservative views such as these, it is easy to believe that getting same-sex marriage approved in the remaining states will be a long journey.

For those who are not aware, 37 states have now approved same-sex marriage; Texas and 12 others contain with the ban against it. Is it inevitable for this 26 percent to join the path for equality?

DePaul freshman and Texas native, Samuel Calderon, believed that it is very likely that they will come around.

“As all the other states roll in, I think it is inevitable,” Calderon said. “Individuals will see themselves as the enemy because they’ll be against something the nation      is not.”

Calderon believes that the idea of homosexuality is becoming more accepted because of the amount of people Texas is drawing in.

“It’s so cheap to live there now, you have people coming in from the East and West Coast, and it’s bringing in new ideas, and also holstering them,” Calderon said. “These low rates made the idea of homosexuality become more popular, due to all these new people and their different views.”

More people with open views have definitely made Texas a more liberal state. However, with individuals in office such as Paxton, one can question whether or not these open views outweigh conservative views. DePaul College of Law professor Donald H.J. Hermann believes that the Supreme Court will rule against these state statures.

“The whole matter will be resolved by the Supreme Court decision that will be handed down this year. All of the other court of appeals have struck down laws prohibiting same-sex marriage, and only the Sixth Circuit Court of appeals upheld the state laws,” Hermann said. “The expectation is that they’ll uphold same-sex marriage rule and overturn the Sixth Circuit. Now that there are 37 states the overwhelming movement is towards same-sex marriage.”

Same-sex marriage is inevitable for all 50 states. We have been moving on this path towards equality for quite some time, and having 72 percent of the U.S. population that lives in a state currently issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples is a healthy sign for the future.

However, there is a bigger picture that the nation is missing out, and it’s the fact that same-sex marriage is not the only issue in regards to the LGBTQ community.

DePaul sophomore and vice president of Act Out DePaul, Patrick Pfohl, said, “Gay marriage is great, and I don’t think we are going to take a step backwards. The problem with pop culture and our media is that they pick one thing from each community and that is ‘their thing.’ For the LGBTQ community it’s been gay marriage. People think once we pass these laws, we’ll be done, and that’s not the case.”

Pfohl offered some advice that we can do as individuals to enforce this change towards equality. “Before a general society can change, we need to make changes internally. The best thing we can do is to advocate, and give platforms for those oppressed people who don’t have opportunities to speak that much.” Actions such as these will slowly but surely bring us to a nation of equality for all.