Several State Lawmakers Fighting Uphill Battle For Gay Marriage In Texas

gay-texasOf all the states in the union, Texas seems one of the least likely to legalize gay marriage any time soon, but a handful of lawmakers are pressing the issue.

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.”

The Dallas Voice reports:

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.”

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  • AxelDC

    States seem to adopt gay marriage based on internal and external pressure. A neighbor state seems to have a big influence on gay marriage acceptance. Vermont adopted civil unions after Quebec passed gay marriage. Massachusetts moved next, which triggered most New England states, and so on. As more states adopt gay marriage, more states consider it, as we see now with Illinois, Oregon, Rhode Island and Delaware.

    They also move because of internal pressure. DC and California pushed because of pressure from its own citizens. Both “states” have large gay populations that have been working on it for years.

    It looks unlikely that Texas will adopt gay marriage any time soon, but the internal work has to begin. It may take a Supreme Court decision, but even those need some popular support to be successful. Good for these Texans for starting the ground work. They may not get results until 2020, but 2020 is far earlier than never.

  • rundontwalk

    The geographical aspect is very interesting AxelDC. I think that New Mexico will be legalizing same sex marriage in the relatively near term so that should help to apply pressure. Especially if the Supremes rule that states must recognize same sex marriages performed in other states.

    Anyway, as a Texan I of course support the efforts to repeal the ban.

  • Jackhoffsky

    Saenz is only partially right about not having the numbers in the House or the Senate. However, if you look at how Texas voted in the last election, there is a noticeable shift occurring with Obama winning 4 of the 5 most populated counties.


    In other words, Texas could be a swing state within a decade, and as the numbers of socially minded people increase, so do our chances of not being the ‘state least likely to legalize gay marriage.’

  • Cam

    One other thing that I think is a very good sign.

    There has been a shift in the last few years. Rather than gays playing defense and trying to muster forces to vote down anti-gay bills, it is the bigots on the defense.

    We will most likely lose this round in Texas, but it is the bigots that are now on the defense there against these bills rather than vice versa.

    Mississippi JUST completed the full change in their state that officially recognized the end of slavery, so it’s not as if those states have a great history on rights.


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