the family code that says each spouse nas
equal obligation to support the other
spouse. Formerly it stated the husband
should support his wife, and the wife
should support her husband only when he
was unable to support himself.
"I am certainly in favor of a woman
supporting her husband if he is disabled.
But on the other hand, I want women to
have the protection of not having to go
to work if she feels that her children are
better off with her in the home. Then she
has the right to be totally supported by
her husband. If she wants to stay home
and be a full-time wife and mother, then
she should have that right. If she wants
to work, she should have that right also.
"This bill is another loss of rights for
women. I assume it was changed to go
along with the state ERA. We were hoping
Clements would veto it. Apparently, he
"We are also pleased that SB. 117 passed.
"As far as the ERA, we are very sorry
our bill to rescind did not get out of committee. We are totally thrilled the ERA
a woman named Mi chol O'Connor, a U.S.
Attorney. She researched all the different
states' legislation regarding rape, trying to
see where obvious needs were left un-met,
how Texas compared, and what could be
"She decided that we're getting nowhere saying over and over that rape is
not a sexual crime, that it is a crime of violence. That line just gets lost on the general public. Instead she thought, we
should do away with a word that is loaded with sexual meaning—rape—then we
could begin to convince jurors and judges
that the rape victim is a victim of a violent crime.
"Along with that proposal, she worked
in several changes which we hailed as
moves that have long been needed.
"One was the proposal that both sexes
could rape and be raped. That has been
needed for a long time.
"Another change would have made it
assault under the law if a person had oral
or anal contact with the genitals of another. Up to now, the legal definition in-
"It will take defecuve children born to be
living witness .o the atrocity of abortion.
There are more than enough people in
"right-to-life" to adopt and care for these
was defeated in state after state, and rescinded in another state, bringing the total to five.
"We are also thrilled that since the economic boycott was instituted by NOW, not
one single state has ratified.
"We think the ERA is more dead than
alive, for all practical purposes.
"Overall, I would assess the legislative
session as good, more good than bad."
Gail Padgett, Director, Houston
Rape Crisis Coalition
^^There were two bills that particularly
interested me this session.
"The first, S. B. 500, would have
changed the word 'rape' to 'assault' in the
penal code, and would have made several
other changes in the meantime. That bill
died when the session adjourned.
"The second one did pass, and I am
hoping it will prove to be a meaningful
bill in time. It deals with compensation
for victims of all crimes. Criminal offenders, on prosecution and conviction, will
be fined. This money will be pooled, so
that victims of crimes can be compensated for repair of physical damage, loss of
time from jobs, psychiatric follow-up.
"There are some problems. Victims
must file for the money through the Industrial Accident Board, which is a very
slow process. So they can't collect until
long after they have had to pay out-of-
pocket. Victims who have no money will
have to track down free services, which
are virtually non-existent.
"Also, I suspect that it is going to take
a while for the money that is being collected from the offenders to accumulate to
an amount that is going to be meaningful.
"All in all, though, I think this bill is
very promising. The legislature is realising
the need for such compensation—for victims of all crimes.
"Certainly rape victims will be as appreciative as anyone. For the last several
years, the state has paid for the collection
of legal evidence, which includes the
standard rape examination. Damages,
however, were not being paid. There was
no compensation for lacerations and broken arms till this bill came along.
"S. B. 500 started off being written by
volves only a penis ana a vagina. The new
law would have also included attacks involving foreign objects, not covered
"O'Connor also worked in the proposal that you could charge assault if you
were not cohabiting with the perpetrator
of the crime. If you were living together,
married or unmarried, you could not.
"Now obviously this did not include
living-together married couples,which is
something we have been trying to move
toward. But it would have brought us a
little closer. If you'd been dating and
having sex but not living together this
proposal would have made it a little bit
easier in court to charge assault.
"Another point, which might have
been added when the bill was out of
O'Connor's hands, I found out about only in the last couple of weeks. A strange
little clause in the proposal said a person
could not charge assault if the attack
were something predictable because of
"I can't imagine the kind of situation
they could be thinking about. Prostitution? We are pretty good at looking for
the good intent. We are also good at seeing loopholes. But we can't find a good
intent in that particular clause.
"We are very glad to see the bill die,
because as amendments were added and
deleted, it lost every good point except
the name change.
"When it first began, I felt real good
about it. I would have much preferred
that it also include people who are cohabiting with the victim, but I was quite willing to compromise in order to make the
Pokey Anderson, Member, National
Board, Gay Political Caucus
••Most of my information comes from
the Texas Gay Task Force lobbyists in
Austin. This is really the first year they've
lobbied, and for a first year effort, I think
they did a fine job.
"According to their releases, their
basic stance was a holding action! They
were concerned about some very anti-gay
continued on page 20
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