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Klu Klux Klan
joins push for marriage ban

Klu Klux Klan
joins push for marriage ban

The Ku Klux Klan has received permission to hold a rally in Austin in support of a proposed same-sex marriage ban in Texas, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The planned demonstration has managed to unite forces on both sides of the debate heading into the November 8 election, in which voters will decide on a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, while banning all legal recognition of gay and lesbian relationships.

"I hate to say that we don't need friends like that, but we don't need friends like that," state representative Warren Chisum, a Pampa Republican leading the push to pass Proposition 2, told the Star-Telegram. "I want nothing to do with the KKK."

Gay former state representative Glenn Maxey, a Democrat from Austin who is leading the effort to defeat Proposition 2, said that any group has the right to voice its opinion but that he doesn't believe that the Klan has any appeal for most modern Texans. The rally is scheduled for November 5 near Austin City Hall. "Ordinary Texans believe you don't discriminate," said Maxey, who served from 1991 until 2003 and is the only openly gay person to win a seat in the Texas house.

Officials with the American White Knights of Ku Klux Klan told the city that they are planning a "pro-family values rally" in support of what they call traditional marriage. Jessica Edwards, secretary of the Klan's Texas chapter, said in a letter to Austin officials that the white supremacist organization has no plans for violence or confrontation during the two-hour event and that attendees do not plan to wear the hooded white robes long associated with the Klan. "We just want to come and encourage people to vote for Christian family values and against legalized homosexual marriage in the state of Texas," Edwards said in her letter.

But she also requested a police presence--in addition to the Klan's own security force--in case there is a clash with counterdemonstrators. "Our speech will not be inflammatory, but we all know the reputation of the name of the KKK, so we expect anti-Klan demonstrators to be there who may become violent," Edwards said. "We certainly don't want any of our people hurt nor any city officials." Maxey said that his organization, No Nonsense in November, has no plans for a counterdemonstration. But he predicted that anti-Klan activists will show up.

Proposition 2 is one of nine proposed constitutional amendments that will go before Texas voters in the November 8 election. Both sides have heated up the rhetoric in recent days. Backers, including Gov. Rick Perry, have said the measure is needed to ensure that Texas will not have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states and other countries. Opponents warn that the measure's wording could be construed as outlawing all marriages.

Perry, a Republican who is planning to seek reelection next year, cast an early vote Tuesday and reiterated his support for Proposition 2. Perry said he is not concerned about the Klan's plan to rally in support of the measure. "If they don't break any laws of the state or the city of Austin relative to parades and what have you, they have every right to state their pro or con on a vast array of issues," Perry said. "The fact of the matter is, that's how it works in America."

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