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October 17, 2005

Austin Mayor Opposes Prop 2 (update)

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Austin's Mayor Will Wynn publicly opposed Constitutional Amendment 2 today at a Press Conference in town. I havn't seen it hit any wires online yet, but here is the text release of this statement. He was surrounded by a plethora of local elected officials who didn't speak but stood with him in opposition.

A listing more or less of those officials are as follows. In italics are those that did not join the coalition of officials calling for a "no" vote on Amendment #2.

Mayor Will Wynn
Mayor Pro Tem Danny Thomas
Council Member Raul Alvarez
Council Member Betty Dunkerley
Council Member Jennifer Kim
Council Member Lee Leffingwell
Council Member Brewster McCracken

County Commissioners
1- Ron Davis
2- Karen Sonleitner
3- Gerald Daugherty
4- Margaret Gómez

Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos
Rep. Dawnna Dukes
Rep. Elliot Naishtat
Rep. Mark Strama
Rep. Eddie Rodriuez

Travis County Constables
4- Maria Canchola
5- Bruce Elfant

District Clerk Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza
Tax Assessor-Collector Nelda Wells Spears
Treasurer Dolores Ortega-Carter
County Attorney David Escamilla
Sheriff Greg Hamilton

There are two primary reasons that I’m standing here today to voice my opposition to Proposition 2, which will appear on the November 8th ballot. This proposed amendment would place in our state constitution the definition of marriage as being solely the union of a man and a woman.

First, I’m a proud American who believes that the First Amendment of the American Constitution prevents us from making any laws that codify religious values. I understand full well that a lot of well-intentioned folks oppose gay marriage on the basis of their religious beliefs. And, I respect the First Amendment rights of these citizens to speak their minds about their opinions. I don’t, however, want their - or my - feelings and thoughts about religion put into law. It’s not an accident, in my opinion, that the same amendment to the American Constitution that guarantees free speech also forbids laws regarding the establishment of religion. We can talk about and practice our religious faith with wide latitude here in America, but we will not make laws about it. The founders of this great country knew all too well that the mixture of religion and law produces a fatally divided society, and they were not about to let the mistakes of past empires and nations be repeated in the new republic that they were building.

Further, the wisdom of our country’s founders regarding the separation of church and state reflects not only their observations of history, but also the Christian heritage that they shared: it was, after all, Jesus who said, "Pay Caesar what is due to Caesar, and pay God what is due to God."

Second, I’m very proud to be a sixth generation Texan with roots in the Austin area going back to 1843. And, to me, one of the great cultural characteristics of Texas is that, here, we mind our own business. In Texas, there’s more than enough room for a lot of different people with a lot of different opinions. We may not like something that someone else is doing, but unless it’s really hurting somebody, we just go our own way and let it be. I like this aspect of Texas culture a lot—a whole lot, in fact. I think it comes with being such a big and wide-open state, and I think that it, more than almost any other mindset, defines what it is to be Texan. So, let’s
just not get into the habit of taking our opinions and trying to turn them into the laws of the land, particularly constitutional amendments: every time we let this happen, we lose a big part of what it is to be of and from the Great State of Texas.

Thank you all.

Will Wynn

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at October 17, 2005 11:59 AM | TrackBack


Elected Officials who spoke:
Mayor Will Wynn
TC Commissioner Karen Sonleitner

Electeds who stood in opposition:
Council Member Lee Leffingwell
Council Member Raul Alvarez
Council Member Brewster McCracken
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
State Rep. Mark Strama

Electeds who couldn't make it but are officially opposing:
Council Member Jennifer Kim

I'm pretty sure there were a couple more people there, but I can't remember who they were.

Posted by: Amy at October 17, 2005 01:26 PM

I heard Dawna Dukes was supposed to be there as well as Elliot Nashitat?

Posted by: Karl-T at October 17, 2005 01:28 PM

Wow, that's a beautiful thing.

Posted by: matth at October 17, 2005 01:35 PM

I knew I was forgetting someone major - yes Naishtat spoke as well.

Dawnna was not there.

Posted by: Amy at October 17, 2005 02:03 PM

Wow, go Will Wynn! That makes me feel extremely proud to live in a city that takes a stand supporting equality, and opposing the right wing’s attempt to alter the Constitution to make it resemble more of a theocracy rather then a democracy.

Three cheers!

Posted by: Paul Rhea at October 17, 2005 02:27 PM


Posted by: amy at October 17, 2005 02:51 PM

The reality is most ministers will probably be urging their congregations to vote for Proposition 2. And those ministers often are the final word for many Texans. The sad reality I should say. It's a shame the IRS doesn't enforce the law and revoke their tax-exempt status but of course the Republicans believe that politics and religion are the perfect combination.

Posted by: Baby Snooks at October 17, 2005 02:53 PM

Have their been any Republicans against Prop 2 that have stated their opposition?

Posted by: John at October 17, 2005 03:32 PM

if richard raymond and patrick rose had voted like real democrats, we wouldn't even be having this vote.


Posted by: bigboy at October 18, 2005 11:56 AM

bigboy, even if raymond and rose had voted the right way, the leadership would have simply adjourned and twisted a few more arms and then called the vote again. it's standard practice for tom craddick.

Posted by: nadia at October 18, 2005 04:44 PM

but you're right, they are freakin sellouts.

Posted by: amy at October 18, 2005 04:53 PM

Where does County Judge Sam Biscoe stand?

Posted by: Betty Klein at October 19, 2005 09:30 PM

Prop 2 will pass and cost Mark Strama his house seat.

Posted by: Toby at October 20, 2005 12:30 PM

Sorry, not with the polling that's been done he's not.

Posted by: Karl-T at October 20, 2005 12:36 PM

Boy, that was GREAT !! I hope this doesn't pass but with all the conservatives in Texas who think they are better than everyone else, it probably will. But not only will this amendment stop gays from marriage, it will also change the common- law status as well, if I am reading this proposition correctly. I'll be voting to voice my opinion, that's for sure

Posted by: Shari at October 26, 2005 01:45 PM

I think it's sad how we are allowing religion, as Wynn said, to fog our better judgement when it comes to the laws. I just hope that enough people realize in this conservative state that that is not right.

Posted by: Nastasha at November 2, 2005 11:15 AM
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