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Aggies John Scroggs and Paul Robles exchanged commitment vows at Bryan's Messina Hof winery in 2003. Five years later, they legally married on the steps of San Francisco's ornate City Hall. Gay marriage motivated two Texas A&M academics, Clair Nixon and Jeff Puryear, to donate thousands of dollars to invalidate 18,000 same-sex nuptials perfomed in California, including Scroggs and Robles'.

Second in a Series.

The Century Oak‘s arching limbs form a natural grotto, a shaded refuge of tranquility on Texas A&M’s bustling campus of 48,000 students.  For generations, students proposed marriage under this hallowed canopy.  Thus, in April of 2002, it was only natural that John Scroggs would invite a very special fellow Aggie to accept perpetual commitment in this sacred place where so many of his classmates began their lives together.  In this story, however, cherished tradition takes a hard left turn.

Scroggs’ chosen life partner was another gay man, Paul Robles, also a student and fellow university employee.  Since Texas A&M’s inception in 1876, throughout its first nine decades as an all-male, military college, and after women were allowed to enroll in 1963, Aggieland love stories followed the traditional plot:  boy meets girl.  When John took his broken computer to Paul for repair in 1998, boy meets boy was still a hostile concept at a university that, in the penultimate decade of the twentieth century, had fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid certification of a gay student organization. (more…)

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Clair Nixon, professor of accounting in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M, who has served as bishop of a local Mormon congregation, has ten children. Recently he donated $3,000 to oppose same-sex marriage in California, an action that threatens to delegitimize the marriage of two fellow Aggies, John Scroggs and Paul Robles.

Part one of a series.

Jeffrey Puryear and Clair Nixon form the Aggie archetype. Both earned degrees from Texas A&M and both returned to their alma mater to contribute to its academic mission. Each is devoted to his family, work, and church, owns his own house and pays taxes—conforming in every way to the image that Texas A&M markets regarding the solid citizenship and family devotion practiced by Aggies worldwide.

John Scroggs and Paul Robles are also Texas A&M former students who have remained in Aggieland as faithful university employees. Although younger and not as far advanced in their careers, they also own their own home and pay taxes, serve jury duty, vote in local elections, and donate to charity. Each has lived in College Station for almost 20 years. Their maroon blood runs thick.

Only one characteristic differentiates Scroggs and Robles from most Aggies. They are a gay couple, long-time companions who took advantage of a brief window of opportunity to be married legally in California this past summer. Although breaking up another Aggie’s marriage is definitely not an activity encouraged by the Aggie Code of Honor, it’s precisely what Puryear and Nixon—and arguably many conservative Aggies—would like to do to these one-time students, classmates and dedicated Texas A&M employees. (more…)

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