Horns Up, Horns Down for Nov. 22

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Horns Up: Houston mayor offers benefits to same-sex spouses of city employees

Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced on Wednesday that marriage benefits for city employees would now be offered to those in same-sex marriages from other states. Parker’s plan openly defies a 2001 city charter amendment banning the action, as well as the Texas State Constitution, which only recognizes heterosexual marriages. The mayor’s office claimed that the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act meant that same-sex marriages were official under U.S. law and should be afforded full faith and credit. We support her claim and expect that same-sex marriage opponents will quickly challenge it in court. This may be the issue that finally brings Texas’ outdated and discriminatory definition of marriage to the Supreme Court, and we will be supporting equal rights for the LGBTQ community all the way.

 

Horns Down: Will an original ad man in the Texas GOP please stand up?

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is the latest Republican political candidate for state office to release a political ad attacking President Barack Obama. “All due respect to President Obama,” Dewhurst says in the ad. “I can’t think of one thing I agree with him on.” The ad then praises Dewhurst’s role in blocking an expansion of Medicaid, “which is Obamacare.” That misleading generalization aside, as fans of lively political debate, we’re disappointed to see the lieutenant governor’s re-election campaign stoop to such a weak effort. Dewhurst isn’t running against Barack Obama — he’s running against Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. If Dewhurst wants to run a negative campaign, we suggest he target someone he’s actually running against. 

 

Horns Up: Homelessness is on the decline 

A new government survey reports that homelessness among veterans declined for the third straight year in a row — down 4 percent from the previous year. The number of chronically homeless people declined as well — down 7 percent to 93,000. But in Austin, a place where the idea of people living on the streets is so familiar that one of the city’s long-standing icons, Leslie Cochran, was homeless himself, students are often prone to forget the very real and serious problems that both stem from and cause homelessness. 

 

Horns Down: City Council passes up a golden opportunity

Yesterday, the Austin City Council voted 4-3 to reject a measure to explore banning fast food restaurants and convenience stores near schools, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Had the resolution passed, the city would have started to establish healthy food zones around schools and other areas. The measure’s passage would have been a much welcome step toward preventing obesity. Considering a ban on fast food restaurants near schools would have been a refreshing step in the right direction.