Texas bill would legalize same-sex marriage

Texas Capitol

Credit: WFAA

Texas bill would legalize same-sex marriage

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by BAILEY MCGOWAN

WFAA

Posted on February 15, 2013 at 11:14 AM

The fifth piece of legislation filed in two weeks regarding same-sex marriage was introduced Valentine’s Day in the Texas House. 

House Bill 1300 sponsored by Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth)  would repeal sections of the Texas Family Code and amend others to include more neutral language such as "spouse" instead of "husband" and "wife" and would grant same-sex couples all legal and economic rights currently available to married couples.
 
This bill would expand upon the senate and house resolutions filed by Sen. Jose Rodriquez, Rep. Rafael Anchia and Rep. Garnet Coleman aimed at repealing the 2005 state constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.  Sen. Chuy Hinojosa also filed a bill this week that would allow civil unions between same-sex couples. 
 
If HB 1300 passed, it would need the state constitutional amendment repealed before it could go into effect starting Jan. 1, 2014. 

"There has been a growing feeling that we need to correct the wrong," said. Rep. Burnam.

Burnam said he voted against the bill in 2003 and filed the bill Allow everyone the freedom and opportunity to get married. 

Executive Director of Equality Texas Chuck Smith said he thinks people across the country have had their own evolution on why same-sex marriage is so important to same-sex couples. 
 
“I think Rep. Burnam’s bill, as well as the other resolutions, are indicative of the increasing public support in Texas in order to provide some sort of recognition for same sex couples,” Smith said.
 
“The reality is 2013 is not the same as 2005 when Texans went to the polls to vote on the constitutional amendment that restricted same sex marriage.” 
 
Still, Smith said he thinks the legislation will face difficulties. 
 
“Realistically I think they all face an uphill climb in the current legislative, Smith said. “Much has changed to reach a point where there are lawmakers that not only do they believe that they support equality but that it’s time to file legislation to try and change it.”

Rep. Burnam said that Texas has historically been slow to embrace basic civil rights issues. 

"This is an early step in the long march to freedom," Rep. Burnam said. 

Previously, Rep. Coleman introduced resolutions in both 2009 and 2011 aimed at repealing the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage which did not pass. 

Currently, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusets, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, Vermont and the District of Columbia all allow same-sex couples to marry. 

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