Pflugerville, a suburb of Austin, has a very progressive school district. It’s one of the few (if any) other school districts in the state to recognize same sex marriages for the purpose of insurance. The Pflugerville school board, with a 5-1 vote, decided to allow benefits to domestic partners.
As an aside, the central Texas area of Austin and a few communities around it are (arguably) the single most liberal area in the state.
However, that decision pissed off the Texas legislature with their 2003 “Defense of Marriage Act” (don’t get me started on the idiocy of that name).
So, State Representative Drew Spring (R-Muenster), filed a bill that says, if a district extends domestic partner benefits, funding to the district will be cut by 7.5%. The representative says
The policy in Pflugerville comes in direct conflict with the Texas Constitution.
Our tax dollars are for educating kids, not for enacting policies that attempt to get the state to recognize homosexual relationships.
A few words about Texas may help. In Texas, the constitution is a limiting document. This means that the government can have no powers unless the constitution specifically allows it. Which, in turn means that the Texas constitution is one of the longest state constitutions in the United States.
Another point is that Pflugerville ISD has previously filed suit against the state of Texas because of how the state distributes money to school districts.
In an interesting twist to the story, another bill has been filed that would repeal the Texas DOMA. Of course, with Texas being the massively hypocritical, reactionary, and fundamentalist state that it is, I wouldn’t count on that bill passing or being signed by governor good-hair (Rick Perry).
It will be interesting to see what happens to the federal DOMA and how that will affect the dozens of states that have equivalent laws.
I do suspect that the bill to punish Pflugerville ISD will pass… and quite quickly. It remains to be seen if the bill passes how quickly a lawsuit will be filed.