Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas Republican lawmakers are defending the state’s gay marriage ban, private companies like Texas Central Railway are picking up where the federal government left off in developing high-speed rail, how fast is Texas Internet compared to the rest of the country, and more.
Texas Republican lawmakers say removing the state’s same-sex marriage ban could pave the way for bigamy, pedophilia, and incest. Sixty-three lawmakers signed a federal brief, including Senator Dan Patrick, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, and Senator Ken Paxton, the Republican candidate for attorney general. Here is the full list of lawmakers who signed it.
The amicus brief was filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the same court where attorney general Greg Abbott is appealing the judge’s February ruling that the same-sex ban is unconstitutional.
The brief states: "If the right to select ‘partners of their choosing’ is the criterion used to invoke marriage as a fundamental right, then marriage restrictions on age, polygamy and consanguinity are also ripe for challenge.”
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa told the Texas Tribune Texans deserve leaders "who know that love is love, and that it's time to end the Republican culture of discrimination across our state."
- Delays in developing high-speed rail in the U.S. are resulting in private companies to pick up the slack. President Obama asked for $11 billion to develop high-speed rail systems, but The New York Times reports the administration parceled out that money to fix existing Amtrak routes rather than put them to use in high-speed rail projects directly, which has drawn criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. Private companies are developing projects of their own in some states, such as Texas Central Railway’s proposed bullet train in Texas that will take riders from Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes. The project is planned to open in 2021, according to Richard Lawless, chief executive of Texas Central Railway. Andy Kunz, executive director of the U.S. High-Speed Rail Association, told the Times: “It’s going to take some years [to get a high-speed rail system that connects the country] after gas prices rise and highways fill up with traffic. It’s going to happen because we won’t have a choice.
- When it comes to Internet speed, Texas is in the middle of the pack. Business Insider reports on how the 50 states stack up in terms of bytes transmitted, and Texas was no. 32. The information was gathered from Akamai’s annual State of the Internet report. To get the fastest Internet in the country, you’ll have to go to Virginia, perhaps because of the heavy military and government presence there.
- Amateur pianists over the age of 35 were invited to take part in the Van Cliburn Amateur Piano Video Competition, and the videos are now available for the public to vote on. The winner of the contest will get an automatic entry into the Van Cliburn Amateur Competition that will take place in summer 2016. The winner will be announced on August 19.
- Dallas-bred St. Vincent (a.k.a Annie Clark) will temporarily lead the Late Night with Seth Meyers band. Entertainment Weekly reports Fred Armisen will take a couple of nights off from leading Seth Meyers’s 8G Band next week. Clark will fill in August 11 and 12. Here’s St. Vincent performing with Pearl Jam and Carrie Brownstein last year in Dallas: