Over at Change.org, Mike Jones highlights this latest bit of gay-baiting from Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), who is running for re-election in the state. In a rather bizarre exchange about economic growth, Perry suggested that same sex marriage would depress job creation:
Social issues might be in the back seat, but they’re still in the car: “There is still a land of opportunity, friends — it’s called Texas,” Perry said. “We’re creating more jobs than any other state in the nation. … Would you rather live in a state like this, or in a state where a man can marry a man?”
It’s a page out of Bush’s 2004 playbook and somehow sounds stale in the context of today’s economic concerns (and not to mention wrong, since marriage equality would probably aid the sate’s economy). Texas, of course, carried out Bush’s strategy to the fullest and passed a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and prohibited the recognition of any other type of union. “Texans have made a decision about marriage and if there is some other state that has a more lenient view than Texas then maybe that’s a better place for them to live,” Perry said in 2005, while signing a measure that sent the amendment to a vote.
His attempts to push gay people and their supports out of the state however, may prove problematic, since a growing number of Texans are slowly embracing marriage equality. In 1996, just 26% of Texans supported same-sex marriage, now 35% do. Those numbers aren’t yet high enough for the Texas GOP to soften its anti-gay rhetoric (in fact, it seems to be ramping it up), but I suspect that it will soon prove difficult to maintain this level of hostility without alienating voters.