In heart of Texas, support grows for same-sex marriage

Print More
Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes (wearing dark blue shirt), of Plano, Texas, relax on a hammock while they enjoy a Saturday at their lake house in Gun Barrel City, Texas on May 31, 2014.  Phariss and Holmes are the plaintiffs in the main Texas lawsuit seeking same-sex marriage rights. Photo by Mei-Chun Jau, courtesy of USA Today

Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes (wearing dark blue shirt), of Plano, Texas, relax on a hammock while they enjoy a Saturday at their lake house in Gun Barrel City, Texas on May 31, 2014. Phariss and Holmes are the plaintiffs in the main Texas lawsuit seeking same-sex marriage rights. Photo by Mei-Chun Jau, courtesy of USA Today

Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content by logging-in here.

GUN BARREL CITY, Texas (RNS) Two men at the center of a legal fight over the state's ban have become minor celebrities in this lakeside community, where they have a weekend home. But they still face plenty of opposition, including from family members.

  • Charlie

    Oooo, look! Another story about gay marriage – here come the liberals! Quick! Gang up on anyone who thinks differently than you do and villainize them!

  • The Great God Pan

    “Quick! Gang up on anyone who thinks differently than you do and villainize them!”

    Your side has done unto others, and now the same shall be done unto you. You reaped the wind, and now you are sowing the whirlwind. Buckle up!

  • Larry

    When people want to have discriminatory laws that have no rational or secular purpose, they should be villainized 🙂

  • Think First

    The problem lies in the fact of Conservatives feeling as though there intelligence is lessened by posting a reply to liberal agenda. However, what they do not realize is, “that is the reason we are in our current financial, moral, and ethical situation!” We must respond in concern to those with whom we are associating.

    As for the liberal agenda, there will always be one, but as long as there is a liberal agenda there must also be a conservative one. However, the pendulum has swung to the liberal extreme. It was “Honest Abe”, a Christian at the core, who freed the Slaves of America. It was “William Wilberforce”, also a Christian, who freed the slaves of Britain. It was “Martin Luther King Jr.”, an African-American Christian, who stood for the rights of his brothers. However, we do not find any Christians standing for the rights of gay-marriage. Why is that? It is because being homosexual is a choice to go against your God-given gift of gender. Being African-American, British, Irish, Chinese, ect. Is a God-given gift, and to hate a man for his color is to go against their God-given gift.

    As for Texas, I don’t think they have very good odds. The state is the most conservative state in the U.S. They will probably and hopefully get voted down.

  • Larry

    Its always funny watching bigots try to parse out their hatreds. Somehow one form of giving bigotry color of law being different than another form of bigotry under the color of law.

    The problem with the conservative stance here is it lacks any conceivable rational and secular motives. To quote GWB appointee John Jones II of Federal Appeals Court of PA

    ‘However, that same-sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not makes its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. Were that not so, ours would still be a racially segregated nation according to the now rightfully discarded doctrine of ‘separate but equal’

    There is a long list of Christians doing so and churches which support marriage equality. Just not your type.

  • justjohn

    i’m sorry, honored [sic] consersative, that “christians aren’t standing up for” assertion is caca. one lawsuit has specifically been joined by the UCC. the rest of the support is the ever growing voice of “NALT” christians.

    think about it, oh ye user of bad grammar: if ‘murica is “90% christian” and the pace of public sentiment is changing as fast as you know it is… uhm, er, who exactly is doing all this changing?

    answer: the “90% christians” are. the same ones who were duped with silly and bad theology into the marriage bans. THEY are seeing they were wrong. you can’t have it both ways – claim public sentiment when you like it, and then disclaim it when you don’t.

    you’re very welcome for the LESSON IN THE OBVIOUS.


    p.s. i don’t teach grammar, but you might want to look for a tutor.

  • The Great God Pan

    “It was ‘Honest Abe’, a Christian at the core, who freed the Slaves of America.”

    Lincoln was frequently suspected of being an atheist, and at any rate never identified himself as Christian or formally joined any church. He apparently believed in a god but was most likely closer to being a deist..

    If you’re looking for affirmed Christians in the Civil War (or the “War of Northern Aggression,” as it is still known in the predominately Christian South), look to Jefferson Davis. To this day, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Montgomery, AL has a plaque honoring him at the pew where he used to sit. In the Episcopal Church, it appears that committing treason in defense of slavery is considered no big deal.

  • Think First

    To Larry,

    The Constitutionality of same-sex marriage is based on the definition of marriage when they wrote the Constitution. It does not matter what definitions we change today, we cannot change what they meant. Either way, I do not live my life based on what government says is moral. If I did that in Germany, I would have taken part in the holocaust. If I did that in America 200 years ago, I would have participated in slave trade. If I did that in Columbia, I would have participated in their genocide. So, regardless of what the government says is moral, I will live my life based on principles that I have seen work. Every person has their own rights and can do as they wish, but it is every person’s responsibility to care for others. I pray they live in accordance to God’s Word, not because I can put another “feather in my hat”, but because I want them to be able to experience the gifts of God as they were intended. If we do this, we will receive that illusive joy that so many seek. I know this because I have found it!

    To justjohn,

    I am open to learning my grammatical errors. If you show me, I will fix them. I am sorry about that.

    Not all of Christianity has swayed to public opinion. However, you are correct in saying that the churches are changing what they had previously believed. However, because a church does it, a state does it, a country does it, or even the world does it, that does not make it moral. Because in the beginnings of Rome homosexuals were put to death. In the end it was condoned. Is it moral because people made it legal? If both were morally “O.K.” than morality is dependent on the persons involved, and is ever-changing. Do you see the flaw? There has to be a higher law that we abide by. If we do not find that higher law, than we will simply be another page of repeated history. Public sentiment does not equal morality.

  • Think First

    Abraham Lincoln told his brother-in-law, Ninian W. Edwards, that he had been reading Smith’s book “and have heard him preach and converse on the subject and am now convinced of the truth of the Christian religion.” (definitely Christian)

    “When their father was dying, Lincoln wrote his step-brother: “I sincerely hope father may recover his health, but at all events, tell him to remember to call upon and confide in our great and good merciful Maker, who will not turn away from him in any extremity. He notes the fall of a sparrow and numbers the hairs of our heads, and He will not forget the dying man who puts his trust in Him.” ” (Definitely not atheistic)

    “In his statement to Eliza Gurney, widow of the Quaker minister Joseph John Gurney (October 1862), Lincoln said, “We are indeed going through a great trial—a fiery trial. In the very responsible position in which I happen to be placed, being a humble instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father, as I am, and as we all are, to work out his great purposes, I have desired that all my works and acts may be according to his will, and that it might be so, I have sought his aid—but if after endeavoring to do my best in the light which he affords me, I find my efforts fail, I must believe that for some purpose unknown to me, he wills it otherwise. If I had had my way, this war would never have been commenced; if I had been allowed my way this war would have been ended before this, but we find it still continues; and we must believe that he permits it for some wise purpose of his own, mysterious and unknown to us; and though with our limited understandings we may not be able to comprehend it, yet we cannot but believe, that he who made the world still governs it.” “(definitely not deistic)

    Tuesday, 26 February 2013 05:00 Written by Jim Denison

  • Larry

    Bullcrap. You have no clue what you are talking about.

    The constitutionality of marriage equality comes from a handy little addition to the Constitution about 80 years later called the 14th Amendment and a little phrase called “equal protection under the law”. So you can take that “original intent” crap and stick it somewhere painful.

    Law is not Bible study. Rules are not created from on high back in the day and set in stone. We have an amendment process, we have a judiciary charged with the role of interpreting the Constitution in light of real world conflicts and issues presented. Interpretations change with the times because freedom and representative governments demand such things. Its called living in a democracy.

    You are always entitled to your opinion. But I am not entitled to care what it is or to act in accordance with it. Our laws certainly don’t have to follow it unless you can cough up rational and secular reasons for doing so.

    I will leave you with this great quote from a lousy film:
    “At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

  • Liz

    @Think First

    You said, “It is because being homosexual is a choice to go against your God-given gift of gender.” Really? You have no idea how human sexuality and gender identity are developed, do you? Please tell us about the time when you CHOSE to be a heterosexual. I know I didn’t choose my heterosexual orientation so I want to know when you actually DECIDED to be straight.

    You also said, “There has to be a higher law that we abide by. If we do not find that higher law, than we will simply be another page of repeated history.” Tell me, are you a supporter of the Sharia Law? Do you want America to ignore our law of the land, the Constitution, and follow the example set by the Islamic countries? What will you do then, going around and start stoning sinners as your ancient book tells you to? Your harmful sectarian thinking has no place in our modern, pluralistic America. If you oppose the same-sex marriage, fine…don’t marry one. Can you just leave this matter to your god and stay out of someone else’s right to pursue happiness?

  • Think First

    To Larry,

    I wish i had your fervor 🙂 However, rationally, if Anyone can change the definition of any word at any time that means that everything you said means nothing. Because I have now taken liberty to redefine “Bullcrap” to mean “Right on” and “no clue” to mean “every clue” . . . If that infuriates you, well you were the one who redefined Democracy.

    SECTION 1.
    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    The privileges, immunities, and liberties that are mentioned here are defined “previously” in the Constitution. Therefore, it must have a previous definition associated with it.

    I am not saying a person cannot choose to be homosexual, I am just saying they cannot be married. Not because it is unequal rights, but because that is not what marriage means, even if Miriam Webster says it is. Another difference is that it is a personal choice to be homosexual.

    I will leave you with this great quote from Jesus Christ: (And I will give you my source if you want to find more quotes from Him)

    The Holy Bible, John 3:16 (KJV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

  • Think First

    To Liz,

    I make the choice every single day. I am not saying the temptation of being homosexual is wrong. I am specifically talking about the act of it.

    The Sharia Law, Constitution, and Koran were inspired and written by man. That makes them of equal value. If all men are created equal why is one man’s laws higher than another’s? The reason I adhere to the Bible is because they are inspired by God. The reason I know they are inspired is because God has personally delivered me from sin, and if he has done it for a worm like me he can do it for anyone.

    There is nothing in God’s Holy Word that contradicts the lifestyles written in the original Constitution. There are two principles God’s Word is built on. Matthew 22:37 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Why is it so wrong to live by these principles?

    If you say that I am hating gays I will tell you that I am not. I am hating what they do. The difference is very evident. If I had a child that committed murder that would not mean I hated my child, but I would hate what he did. It is never right to hate anyone. Those who do are breaking the greatest fundamental laws of Christ.

    Just as I cannot, and will not attempt, to force one to believe in Christ I cannot, and will not attempt a man to be heterosexual. The fact still remains, to have a marriage between two persons of the same gender is to change the definition of marriage. It does not change its reality, originality, or essence.

  • Edward Borges-Silva

    Haven’t visited this website in six weeks, not a whit of it has changed: To Think First, your arguments are both reasonable and sound, however, I would advise, as I now advise all orthodox bible believers who visit this site, to abandon it. No disrespect to RNS, but there are no seekers here, only those already confirmed in their opinions, many of whom as you’ve no doubt discovered, are rude, ill-mannered, irrational in their hatred of all things holy. Leave this site to them, let them comfort themselves in their heresy, and be mindful of Jesus’ admonition, ‘Cast not your pearls before swine.’ Forgive my presumption in offering you this heartfelt but unsolicited advice.

  • Frank

    I would encourage you not to abandon those lurking and just reading. They need to hear the truth contrasting the lies and deceptions often posted here.

  • And of course we all know how high the standards for hetero-marriage have always been. Let’s review those hallowed standards, shall we?

    All states happily grant, no questions asked, full rights, privileges, honors, exemptions and security of marriage to imprisoned felons, serial killers, pedophiles, women-punchers, child-starvers, bank robbers, tax frauds and snake-oil salesmen; the unemployed, homeless, destitute and on welfare; the childless, child-free, impotent, sterile and menopausal; the Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, voodoo priest, woowoo guru and atheist; the thrice-divorced, the celebrity 3-day-long marriage and the shriveled old man marrying a girl young enough to be a zygote.

    But we gotta ban gayfolk matrimonials because THAT is what destroys the sacred institution of hetero marriage.

  • Larry

    In describing marriage equality U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane wrote:
    “They face a tiered system of recognition that grants greater legal status to married felons, deadbeat parents, and mail-order brides. ”

  • Larry

    I wish you had a clue what you are talking about. But you don’t.

    You might want to educate yourself as to how our judiciary works. We let our courts interpret the Constitution’s words in light of the cases in front of them. Its called the common law system. A little holdover from being a former colony of the British.

    Marriage rights are part and parcel with that little bit about equal protection under the law. The connection between the two has been recognized since not long after the passage of the 14th Amendment and been referenced ever since.
    All cases striking down gay marriage bans do so under that premise.

    It would help if you educated yourself on the subject. Maybe even read one of the recent decisions on it to get some idea what the legal basis was for them. But you wont.

  • Larry

    And the first amendment doesn’t say anything about Muslims being allowed to build mosques, yet its the basis for such things.

    Can you be a little more dense and ignorant? When you read about state after state striking down gay marriage bans, they all cite the equal protection clause.

    You disgrace the Constitution with your ignorance and willingness to use the law to discriminate.

  • Larry

    Why bother coming back at all?

    And no, ThinkFirst has not made a single intelligent argument yet. Once one starts spouting off Bible quotes when the subject is our civil laws, you have admitted failure. That you lack a rational and secular point to make. Therefore no need for our laws to take them seriously.

  • Larry

    Btw Doc how does it feel to be supporting a person who also thinks God hates interracial marriage. 🙂

    In Thinkfirst’s own words,
    “if all races marry in-ex-changeably, races will perish”

    Please by all means show how much you have in common with a dyed in the wool racist. Its pretty funny.

  • Liz

    To Think First,

    I don’t know where to even begin my response to your twisted logic. Yes, we make choices every single day…what to eat for lunch, where to go for vacation, etc. But there are things in life we don’t get to choose…family, race, ethnicity, nationality, diseases, accidents, natural disasters, etc. Above all, we really don’t get to choose with whom we fall in love or to whom we are attracted. You didn’t answer my question so I will ask you again. When did you DECIDE to be heterosexual? At what age? I assume you consider any modern scientific findings irrelevant in your world, but there is strong evidence that human sexuality and gender identification are formed around age of 3-5, way before a kid even learns what sex or gender is. Just think about that before you call homosexuality a chosen sin.

    Yep, I love the new Christian mantra, “We love the sinner but hate the sin he commits.” You’d be more ingenuous if you just say “God hates fags” like Fred Phelphs did. Why the sugar coating?

    You Christians are masters of “selective observation (counting the hits and ignoring the misses).” It never cease to amaze me how you can quote only the happy, clappy and convenient parts while completely disregard not-so-pretty parts of the Jesus’s teachings. For example, Jesus said in Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Is this something you’d like to teach your children about love and family?

    Lastly, according to the Muslims, the Koran is the DIRECT words (not inspired like the Bible) of Allah and the Sharia is the Allah’s Law, written by men. It’s sad that you know nothing about other major religions of the world and yet are so eager to claim your god is the one true god. Did you know that of the 7 billion people on this planet, only 2.2 billion people are Christians? And 5.8 billion non-Christians also make the same truth claims about their gods just as strongly and sincerely as you do? So which god is real? It’s illogical to conclude that all “One true god” claims are right. So what if Muslims got it right and Christians end up in Islamic hell? I guess somebody’s hell must be really overflowing by now.

    BTW, you are not a unworthy “worm” who needed to be saved by god or anyone else in my godless world view. I will leave you with a Christopher Hitchens’ quote: “Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.”

  • Think First

    I was stating a fact not a moral. I don’t believe it is right for me, but Scripture does not have much, if anything, to say about the Gentile interracial marriage. That was my fault in not making that clear. My statements about that were ambiguous.

  • Think First

    To Liz,

    This will be my last reply. Edward makes sense. I make my choice to believe in Christ. Everyone has that choice. The Muslims are sure they are right, you are sure you are right, and I am sure I am right. So who is? You have to make your decision. I cannot make it for you. I only know that the cross of Christ is a far lighter burden than the chains of sin.

    I wanted freedom from the evil I lived in every day. I would constantly commit the same evil that I was so ashamed of. It was not until I turned to Christ that I received that freedom. It is because of that freedom that I believe in Christ. I cannot explain it, and I cannot describe it, but I have experienced it. For that freedom, which I found in Jesus, I would forsake everything I have to keep. Something that is that precious should never be lost. Is your belief truly that precious to you? If it is, I know your will shall never be conquered. Because that “Blessed Assurance” is worth all.

  • The Great God Pan

    OK, you got me. Abraham Lincoln was every bit as Christian as Jefferson Davis.

    I suppose that tells us something about Christianity’s effect on people’s morals, but probably not what you think it does.

  • Larry

    Every bigot likes to say that about their ideas. It makes them feel better about having a POV which is losing social sanction.

    “Scripture does not have much, if anything, to say about the Gentile interracial marriage”

    Actually it says a lot on the subject.

    Not only are you a bigot, but you are ignorant as to your own scripture. The alleged source of your positions.

  • George in Texas

    Being a superstitious religious bigot is also a choice and very distructive to society. Grow up and learn to reason and stop being superstitious which is evil making you evil.

  • Alexandra

    judge not lest ye be judged
    love thy neighbor as thyself

  • Edward Borges-Silva

    On my way out, I will alert Larry to what should be obvious, this is a religiously oriented website, and logically, whatever the subject, one should expect a framework of responses reflecting religious points of view. For most people if their personal way of faith means anything at all, it informs their political choices and the laws they wish to be governed by. As to what is constitutional, and what the framers meant and intended regarding religion in the public sphere I refer you to William J. Federer’s “America’s God and Country,” a compilation of quotes by the founders (and others) regarding the bible and civic religion. It completely evicserates the secular humanist and atheistic arguments regarding ‘separation of church and state…a phrase not found in the constitution. Spare me your vitriolic rage, I saw the movie.

  • Frank

    There is no love in supporting sinful behavior.

  • Larry

    Why bother coming back if you are just going to denigrate the site? You aren’t contributing to lively discussion.

    As for faith informing political choices, if the actions lack a rational and secular motive, it never has a place as part of our laws and government. Rule of law and representative government are not meant to be tools of reinforcing your singular faith. That is what churches are for.

    Btw Federer is a professional liar and fabricator of historic quotes to further fundamentalist, anti-democratic agendas on the same line as David Barton.

    If Fundamentalist Christians had legitimate points to make about government, they would not have to lie so often and so badly to do it.:)

  • Fran

    Argle, It’s just the way the world is at this point in time. The apostle Paul prophecied what type or kinds of persons would be living in the last days of an era:

    “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days, there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. they will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will ACT religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

    It can safefly be assumed that some and/or all of these types of personalities traits can be found in both heterosexual and/or homosexual persons in today’s world.

    The apostle Paul also mentioned that “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissention, divisions, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and things like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Galations 5:21.

    But he also added that “… the holy spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fathfulness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.” Galations 5:22 These are the kind of qualities we want to cultivate, no matter what type of person we may be.