Texas lawmakers hear bill banning issuing of same-sex marriage licenses

Texas state capitol in Austin.

Texas state capitol in Austin.

Texas state capitol in Austin.

Texas state capitol in Austin.

AUSTIN, Texas — Dick Francis appealed to Texas lawmakers ten years ago to vote against a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Legislators – and voters statewide – approved the amendment in 2005. Late Wednesday, Francis once again pleaded with lawmakers on behalf of his gay son.

He asked members of the House State Affairs committee to vote against the “Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act” by Magnolia Republican Rep. Cecil Bell Jr., a bill that would bar state and local employees from licensing or recognizing same-sex marriages – even if the U.S. Supreme Court authorizes them.

Francis said Bell’s bill should be renamed the “Preservation of Discrimination.”

“If you vote for this bill, you are judging my son,” he said.

Democratic Rep. Sylvester Turner, of Houston, told Francis his statement was powerful and that he gave a voice to many people.

“We’re certainly not here to devalue your son, neither his partner,” Turner said.

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Bell’s proposal, which is still pending in committee, would make the Texas Secretary of State solely responsible for issuing state marriage licenses. Under the bill, no state or local funds could be used to “license, register, certify or support” same-sex marriage.

The measure would also prohibit officials from recognizing, granting or enforcing same-sex marriage licenses.

The Supreme Court will hear same-sex marriage arguments this summer. Bell’s bill aims to ensure that, regardless of their ruling, same-sex marriage would face challenges in Texas.

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