Texas Isn't All Rednecks and Bible Thumpers as Gay Marriage Ban May Suggest
In the 2000 Bush/Gore presidential election, George W. Bush carried the state of Texas, which came of little surprise to anyone. Texas is, after all, as red as red states can be on most socio-political issues and the former governor was a poster boy for socially conservative politics. But, here in Houston, Vice President Al Gore actually beat Bush 52 percent to 48 percent. The same held true of Harris County. Yes, the same city that is the home to Urban Cowboy, one of the largest rodeos in North America and a big chunk of the energy industry is not the backwards, racist honkey tonk many of our northern neighbors might think. We have a lesbian mayor and everything!
Not everyone in Texas looks like this.
This is why people in Houston -- and, we assume, residents of Austin and probably San Antonio -- get frustrated when we are forced to endure the stereotype that lumps us in with cowboy hat-wearing, country club line-dancing conservatives from Dallas's northern suburbs and East Texas, which is as known for dragging black men to death as it is for meth labs. And why many of us are partly thrilled, partly relieved when a judge in San Antonio strikes down the Texas ban on gay marriage.
The irony is that, for all the conservatives that exist in our state, Texas is mostly a bastion of live and let live philosophy. Sure, our first flag had a picture of a cannon on it with the words "Come and Take It" and, yes, our current hairspray-addled governor brought up secession during one of his many ill-advised outbursts, but both were not so much examples of gun-toting conservative values as the continued desire for independence -- albeit a misguided variety in the case of Gov. Rick Perry.
That's why so many of us here in the Lone Star State don't understand what the big deal is when it comes to a people marrying the same gender. Houston has the largest nighttime gay pride parade in the world. Why should we care if gays marry? If our mayor can have a concealed handgun permit, she most certainly should be allowed to marry her partner.