Dan Patrick most certainly does not think same-sex marriage should be legal in Texas.
So in response to a federal judge's ruling Wednesday that the state's ban was unconstitutional, the Republican state senator and candidate for lieutenant governor took to Twitter to announce his position on the momentous ruling.
"MARRIAGE= ONE MAN & ONE MAN," said the tweet from Patrick's account. "Enough of these activist judges. FAVORITE if you agree. I know the silent majority out there is with us!"
"MARRIAGE= ONE MAN & ONE WOMAN," said a new tweet after the previous one disappeared.
But, of course, inside Twitter's frantic, meme-hungry microclimate, users posting screengrabs of the senator's errant tweet instantly earned hundreds of retweets -- leading to a lighthearted response from Patrick:
In a more serious vein, Patrick added, "I want to re-emphasize my long held position: Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman. Period," echoing the 76% of Texas voters who approved a constitutional ban in 2005.
The Texas political establishment's reaction to the ruling was still developing Wednesday, but Patrick's (intended) message touched at one of the inherent frictions of the recent same-sex marriage rulings coming down in conservative states around the country.
In many cases, presidentially appointed federal judges have struck down state bans that had been approved with overwhelming popular support, an exercise of checks and balances not always endearing to voters and legislatures.
U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia acknowledged as much in his ruling, in which he declared, "Today's court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature."
But, he said, the decision was made "in compliance with the United States Constitutional and Supreme Court precedent."
"Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose," Garcia continued, "state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution," at which point he struck down the state's ban.
On Twitter, Patrick's response was perfectly clear: "As Lieutenant Governor I'll fight activist judges and defend our traditional Texas values."
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