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Justice denounces
warnings about Texas same-sex marriage ban

Justice denounces
warnings about Texas same-sex marriage ban

Texas supreme court justice Nathan Hecht on Wednesday denounced as deceptive and false a new round of recorded telephone calls being placed to voters by opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The calls warned that Proposition 2 on Tuesday's statewide ballot could nullify all marriages in Texas. The measure would amend the Texas constitution to define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman.

The recorded calls use quotations from Hecht and state attorney general Greg Abbott on other matters to back up claims that the amendment is poorly worded and could wipe out traditional marriages. Hecht said that contrary to what the ads suggest, he has not taken a position on the measure, because it might come before the court. "As a judge, I cannot take a public position of any kind on the amendment, and I have not done so," he said in a statement issued Wednesday. He said any such indications are "blatantly misleading and false."

The calls contain an unidentified voice reading a statement Hecht made last month to an Austin American-Statesman reporter regarding Harriet Miers's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, Hecht said. That statement had nothing to do with Proposition 2 and is being used out of context, he said. Abbott, meanwhile, has publicly stated that no Texas judge would use the measure to invalidate all marriages.

The calls are from Save Texas Marriage, a spin-off of the anti-amendment group No Nonsense in November. Representatives of Save Texas Marriage said they aren't trying to deceive anyone. Gay rights activist Glen Maxey of Austin said use of Hecht's comment and a 1997 opinion by Abbott "are not deceptive at all but the judges' own words." Abbott is a former state supreme court justice. "It's instructive for voters to know what these two learned judges have written about how a judge should rule," said Maxey, manager of the No Nonsense in November campaign against the amendment.

But social conservative Kelly Shackelford, who helped write the amendment and is active with the pro-amendment group Texans for Marriage, said the calls are "direct attempts to deceive and trick people." Shackelford, also president of the Plano-based Free Market Foundation, on Tuesday sent out e-mails warning of a new "wave of fraudulent calls." (AP)

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