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Last week, days before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was to hear arguments about the Texas state same-sex marriage ban, a controversial advertisement began airing across the state. The television spot features three different members of the Fort Worth Police Department speaking up about a member of their police department, in support of his right to marry his long-term partner.
That officer, Chris Gorrie, has been with the department since 2006 and was featured in a recruitment video earlier this year speaking openly about working as an officer while being out and gay. That video, which features Gorrie speaking bluntly and humorously, was made in an attempt to inspire other “diverse” Texas community members to consider a career in policing, something that could arguably go a long way toward fixing the broken law enforcement system.
Now, his co-workers, possibly inspired by Gorrie’s willingness to put himself out there in such a conservative state, have come out publicly supporting him and his right to marry. The hope is that this commercial, which aired for over a week on Texas stations, could help drum up bi-partisan support for overturning the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
The law in question has already been declared unconstitutional by a federal judge out of San Antonio and is being considered by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals along with the gay marriage bans from Louisiana and Mississippi. On Friday, January 9th, 2015, a three-judge panel began hearing arguments about these bans, though a decision may be weeks or months in the making. The Supreme Court recently declined to consider the Louisiana case before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, despite that review having been requested by both sides of the argument.
For now, supporters of universal human rights are holding their breath, waiting for the Circuit Court’s decision to drop, though any decision will likely be appealed again. Whether the Supreme Court will, at that time, agree to consider any of the three cases and make a ruling about same-sex marriage remains unclear. What is clear is that even in the most conservative of places, compassion and love are slowly starting to outshine bigotry. Hopefully, the love and loyalty expressed by the officers from Fort Worth in their commercial will prove contagious.
For previous Ladybud Magazine articles about gay marriage and LGBTQIA rights, click here.