Texans Approve Gay Marriage Ban

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Texas became the 19th state to approve a constitutional ban of gay marriage as voters decided nine proposed amendments Tuesday.

Like every other state except Massachusetts, Texas didn't permit same-sex marriages, but the constitutional amendment was touted as an extra guard against future court rulings.

With more than 700,000 votes counted, 77 percent favored the ban and 23 percent opposed it.

"I think Texans know that marriage is between a man and a woman, and children deserve both a mom and a dad. They don't need a PhD or a degree in anything else to teach them that," said Kelly Shackelford, a leader Texans For Marriage, which favored the ban.

No Nonsense in November, an organization opposed to the amendment, was waiting to comment until vote totals from El Paso were available. Polls closed an hour later there than in the rest of Texas because El Paso is in the Mountain time zone.

Secretary of State Roger Williams predicted a turnout of 16 percent of Texas' 12.5 million registered voters for the constitutional amendments election. Turnout was about 12 percent in 2003, when Texans approved a lawsuit limitation measure in a constitutional amendments election.

Supporters and opponents of Proposition 2, the gay marriage ban, battled aggressively for weeks, holding debates, dueling news conferences and sending out campaign messages through the Internet and airwaves.

Opponents argued a constitutional ban was unnecessary and merely a statement of discrimination against homosexuals. They also suggested that the proposed amendment was so poorly drafted it could endanger common-law or traditional male-female marriages, depending on how a judge interpreted it.

Texans for Marriage lined up numerous ministers in support of Prop 2, and often cited the Bible as a reason to pass the amendment and protect traditional marriage between a man and a woman.

No Nonsense in November, led by openly gay former legislator Glen Maxey, boasted that it was making a "horse race" out of the campaign, in part because no other major people or issues were on the Texas ballot. The group worked to generate heavy turnout in Austin's Travis County, one of the few liberal strongholds in Texas and the one of the few counties where the vote was close.

On other proposed amendments, voters approved a change to deny bail for criminal defendants who violate release conditions pending trial. Other proposed amendments on the ballot would create a relocation and improvement fund for Texas railroads and authorize line-of-credit advances under reverse mortgages.

In Houston, voters re-elected Mayor Bill White to a second two-year term. They were also choosing a successor for the late state Rep. Joe Moreno, a Democrat killed in a pickup truck accident in May. Six Democrats were vying to fill his unexpired term.

In White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth, voters rejected a proposal to change the town's name to West Settlement. Some citizens said the name taken in the 1800s for the city's white pioneers was politically incorrect and hindered economic development, but others believed the city should hang on to its heritage.

Here's how Texas voters decided nine proposed
state constitutional amendments:

-Proposition 1: Creates the Texas rail relocation and
improvement fund and authorizes grants of money and issuance of
obligations for financing the relocation, rehabilitation and
expansion of rail facilities. APPROVED.
-Proposition 2: Provides that marriage consists only of the
union of one man and one woman, and prohibits the state or a
political subdivision of the state from creating or recognizing any
legal status identical or similar to marriage. APPROVED.
-Proposition 3: Allows Texas cities to issue long-term grants
and loans for economic development. APPROVED.
-Proposition 4: Authorizes the denial of bail to a criminal
defendant who violates a condition of the defendant's release
pending trial. APPROVED.
-Proposition 5: Allows the Legislature to define maximum
interest rates for commercial loans. REJECTED.
-Proposition 6: Allows for one additional public member and a
constitutional county court judge in the membership of the State
Commission on Judicial Conduct. APPROVED.
-Proposition 7: Authorizes line-of-credit advances under a
reverse mortgage so homeowners age 62 or older can borrow against
the equity in their homes without taking a lump-sum loan or fixed
monthly advance. APPROVED.
-Proposition 8: Provides for the clearing of land titles by
relinquishing and releasing any state claim to sovereign ownership
or title to interest in certain land in Upshur County and in Smith
-Proposition 9: Authorizes the Legislature to expand members'
terms on regional mobility authority boards, or toll-road agencies,
from two years to six years. REJECTED.