State senator Dan Patrick, former talk radio host and potential Lt. Governor nominee, found himself something of an Internet celebrity yesterday. If by “celebrity,” you mean “punchline,” which in this case, we do—quite literally.
That is to say, his tweet in response to the gay marriage ruling handed down yesterday by a federal court that found Texas’ ban to be unconstitutional turned the candidate and state senator into today’s living example of “read that tweet twice before you send it.”
The tweet in question was a bold declaration that, “activist judges” be damned, there’s only one definition of marriage, and it’s—“between a man and a man,” Patrick’s official Twitter account sent out into the ether of the Internet, where it was immediately and roundly mocked.
It’s perhaps a bit gauche to pick on someone for what is pretty clearly a typo, but Patrick’s critics would presumably also consider it gauche for him to argue that, regardless of how our courts interpret the Constitution, he’s the arbiter of what marriage is and is not. At the very least, we can all agree that everybody feels passionately about this and Patrick’s ill-timed typographical error was the sort of embarrassing blunder that was certain to make him a figure of fun among everyone on the opposite side of the issue from him.
The mockery began with a collection of other folks on Twitter, then proceeded to spread throughout the snarkier corners of the Internet. Gawker and Slate highlighted the tweet, by the end of the day, it had traveled far and wide enough that it gave the state senator’s campaign for Lt. Governor an unexpectedly high-profile airing on Conan with Conan O’Brien, who joked that “A Texas state senator who’s opposed to gay marriage accidentally tweeted ‘marriage is between a man and a man.’ The senator said it was a simple mistake, like that time he joined Grindr instead of Christian Mingle.”
Of course, Patrick’s actual position on gay marriage is obviously not at all in doubt, and it’s hard to imagine that the tweet would hurt him among the people who will be voting in that primary: if anything, the brief national attention focused on the candidate and how much he opposes gay marriage, slippery Twitter thumbs to the contrary, might help remind voters of his passion on this issue in a race that’s seen candidates compete to earn the distinction of “furthest to the right.”
Regardless Dan Patrick later clarified that it was an accident by a staffer and not some act of resistance by a secret Twitter saboteur who infiltrated his campaign. Patrick tried to make light of the mishap in a follow-up tweet with a job posting, complete with contact info.
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) February 26, 2014
In any case: Gay marriage is unconstitutional in Texas pending appeal, Dan Patrick thinks that’s a mistake, and people who give their tweets a once-over before hitting “send” are in demand. That’s quite an eventful day for a state senator in the off-season.