AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Ralph Barrera

No Special Session on Gay Marriage


A version of this story ran in the July 2015 issue.


Anti-LGBT activists are livid about the 84th Texas Legislature’s failure to pass discriminatory bills. A day after lawmakers gaveled out, 14 leaders from anti-gay groups delivered a letter to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott demanding that he call a special session to pass a bill aimed at undermining an expected U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality.

“This issue is not about equality. It is about redefining marriage, which would lead to individuals, families, churches, schools and businesses being forced to accept, affirm and celebrate those who practice homosexuality,” wrote Dr. Steve Hotze, president of the Conservative Republicans of Texas, in a post on his website announcing the letter.

“As Attorney General, Governor Abbott fought to protect Texas’ sovereignty from being usurped by the federal government and the federal judiciary,” he continued. “We are convinced that he will continue to fight to protect Texans from having the federal courts illegitimately impose homosexual marriage on Texas.”

Abbott’s office didn’t return a phone call seeking comment, but the governor has indicated that he doesn’t intend to call a special session.

The letter to Abbott capped weeks of finger-pointing by anti-gay activists after it became clear that none of the more than 20 anti-LGBT proposals introduced in this year’s session would pass. In May, Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz lashed out at the Texas Association of Business over the group’s opposition to anti-LGBT legislation.

“The business lobby, the Texas Association of Business, has decided now they’re going to put all their investment in the homosexual agenda, and that’s one of the things they did,” Saenz said. “It was a big surprise to a lot of lawmakers. … The Texas Association of Business has clearly turned their back on the values of Texas.”

Dave Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, blamed state Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) and Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) for the demise of an anti-gay marriage bill in the session’s final days.

Rep. Cecil Bell
Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) speaks during a press conference hosted by the Coalition of African-American Pastors at the Capitol on Wednesday morning.  John Wright

“It is an astounding and appalling reality that in one of the most Republican-dominated state governments in the U.S., with a strong majority in both House and Senate, that the Texas Legislature did nothing meaningful to protect religious freedom, traditional marriage or oppose the radical agenda of the sexual perversity/gender confusion,” Welch wrote. “The good news is that the only way for evil to triumph is for us to be silent, and we have proven that pastors all over Texas are no longer willing to be passive as the enemy of our souls and his pawns influencing media, entertainment, education and politics assault God’s moral law and created order.”

Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, said same-sex marriage will put people out of business if they refuse to serve gay couples—even though Texas has no LGBT-inclusive, statewide nondiscrimination law. Adams also said same-sex marriage is “taking decadence to a new low level,” because not even the “decaying” Roman Empire sanctioned it.

Adams said of state Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia), the author of four anti-gay marriage bills, that “his head was handed to him on a silver platter” by other Republicans who killed the legislation. And she said that because the Legislature failed to pass an anti-gay marriage bill, the state will “bow and scrape before 1 percent of the U.S. population that is homosexual.”

“I am supporting the call for our governor to call a special session now, or forever hold our peace,” Adams said. “We must stand up for marriage. We must push back on this tyranny from the bench.”