On Valentine’s Day, Texas Sate Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth) introduced a bill that would remove provisions in the Texas Family Code from 2003 that deny same-sex couples the ability to marry in the state and also allow Texas to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
“Marriage has been the greatest and most rewarding experience of my life,” Burnam said in a statement. “Continuing to deny all Texans the freedom to marry robs them of that experience and is detrimental to their families. Texans want a state where anyone can work hard and provide for their families. Our Texas values mandate defending the right of all Texans to have their rights and responsibilities as couples recognized by the state.”
This is the fifth relationship recognition bill filed in two weeks in the Texas Legislature. Reps. Garnet [Coleman], D-Houston, and Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, filed joint resolutions to repeal the state’s anti-gay marriage amendment last week, as did state Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, marking the first time the repeal legislation had a Senate companion bill. And earlier this week, state Sen. Chuy Hinojosa, D-McAllen, filed legislation to create civil unions for gay couples.
“What better time to start to repeal the ban on same-sex civil unions and marriage than the present?” asked Rep. Coleman. “It’s not whether [the repeal] happens, it’s when it happens.”
Well, that “when” is probably still a long ways off. Though Gallup polls suggested for the first time that a majority of Americans supported same-sex marriage, the numbers were much lower in Texas, where only 36% were in favor, while another 33% preferred civil unions.
More importantly, the Republican-controlled state Legislature is highly unlikely to pass any marriage equality bill.
“People are entitled to it if they want to have the discussion, but it is not going to happen,” said Jonathan Saenz, president of the conservative group Texas Values. “The numbers aren’t there in the [Texas] House or the Senate.”