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Gay rights activists in Texas are planning protests in nine cities against Gov. Rick Perry, a leading contender for the GOP presidential nomination. The protests are scheduled for tomorrow in Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Harlingen, Houston, Huntsville, Odessa, and San Antonio.
The marches and rallies will call for marriage equality in Texas, and some of the events will feature same-sex commitment ceremonies.
“The doors to religious-based ceremonial weddings are wide open for same-sex couples throughout our state as more and more religious leaders are supportive of marriage equality for LGBT Texans,” said Jay Morris, co-lead organizer for GetEQUAL Texas, in a press statement. “Unfortunately, the doors to the house of justice have been slammed in our faces, and 1,138 federal rights provided by marriage are denied to our families due to state and federal regulations like the Defense of Marriage Act. … We are protesting that state and federal inequality and drawing attention to the need for pro-family laws that will provide safety and protection for ALL Texas families, including the over 17,000 children being raised by same-sex couples in Texas.”
Perry, a leader of the Christian political right, is vehemently opposed to LGBT equality. He preceded his presidential campaign in August with a controversial “prayer rally” in Houston that was organized in conjunction with leaders of anti-gay organizations labeled as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In the past, Perry has compared same-sex attraction to alcoholism and implied that marriage equality hurts business growth.
“Would you rather live in a state like (Texas), or in a state where a man can marry a man?” Perry asked during a speech in August, shortly before signing a right-wing pledge to fight social tolerance for LGBT people. “We’re creating more jobs than any other state in the nation.”
To help win him the Republican nomination, Perry tapped radical anti-gay activists to lead his Florida campaign. John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, served as co-chair of his Perry’s effort to win the state’s straw poll. Perry lost to businessman Herman Cain, also a Christian-right candidate.
Perry also asked Pam Olsen to join his Florida campaign team. She has warned that same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay priests could lead to floods, fires, and tornadoes.