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Texas lawmakers seek to repeal state’s constitutional ban on same-sex unions

Saturday, February 9, 2013
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AUSTIN, Texas — Three Texas lawmakers are seeking to reverse the state’s ban on same-sex marriage by repealing a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

State Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) said he wants to see smae-sex couples be allowed to marry or enter into civil unions, and his bill — co-authored by Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) — aims to repeal a 2005 amendment passed by Texas voters that bans recognition of same-sex unions.

“My constituents include many couples and families who are negatively impacted by the current constitutional restrictions,” said Anchia, in a statement. “It is time we revisit this issue; it is time we treat all Texans with dignity and respect.”

Coleman cited recent polls that show sentiments have changed for a majority of Texans. Anchia, a lawyer, said he represents many couples and families who are discriminated against by the state’s Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the recognition of anything similar of identical to marriage — including civil unions.

“In 2005, most Texans did not support any form of legal recognition for lesbian and gay couples. But, public opinion has changed greatly in the last eight years, both across the country and right here in Texas,” said Coleman, who has championed a repeal in multiple legislative sessions.

“Two-thirds of Texas’ voters now believe the state should allow some form of legal recognition for committed same-gender couples,” Coleman said.

In the state Senate, Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso), filed companion bill SJR 29 to repeal the state’s marriage amendment.

The amendments would require two-thirds approval by the Republican-dominated House and Senate, which is unlikely, and approval by a majority of voters in statewide elections.

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