IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM - CONFUSE THEM
by William Lutz    Wed, Oct 26, 2005, 11:26 PM

That seems to be the campaign philosophy of the opponents of Proposition 2, which bans same sex marriages. Republican household’s statewide received auto-dial messages from “Save Texas Marriages” The script reads as follows:

“I’m Rev. Tom Heger. Rick Perry and the legislature made a blunder in writing the gay marriage amendment. Don’t risk it. Vote against it. They left off words that would have made sure it applied only to gays. A greedy insurance company, tricky divorce lawyer or a liberal Austin activist judge can easily use these words to overturn traditional marriage and cause people to lose health insurance, tax breaks and pensions. The status quo protects everyone’s marriage. Don’t risk it. Vote against it. God Bless You. Read it for yourself at savetexasmarriage.com."

With phrases such as “liberal Austin activist judge,” this auto dialer is clearly designed to appeal to socially conservative voters.  One problem: the people behind it aren’t social conservatives. Press contact number for “Save Texas Marriage” is the same as “No Nonsense in November,” the anti-Proposition 2 campaign run by former Rep. Glen Maxey (D-Austin), who is gay. Maxey also ran the Democrats’ turnout machine in Austin for the 2004 elections, which helped elect many of the “liberal Austin activist judge[s]” decried in the auto-dial messages.

The bill was drafted by attorneys at the Capitol and shepherded through the House by veteran Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Pampa). The advertising supporting Proposition 2 features three attorneys who are also state representatives, Bill Keffer, Ken Paxton, and Phil King. Rep. Will Hartnett (R-Dallas), also a Dallas attorney, was a joint author of the proposition. Dozens of legal minds in the legislature coauthored this amendment. If there was such a drafting error it is hard to believe they would not have found it. Or the opponents would have pointed it out. (The amendment barely received the 2/3rds vote needed to go to the voters.)

There is certainly room for legitimate debate and principled difference of opinion on the topic of gay marriage. But the opponents of Proposition 2 know a majority of the people of Texas oppose same sex marriage. This is why the auto-dial messages don’t address the issue directly but seem aimed at confusing, rather than convincing, the voters.

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