Texas is one of the thirteen states in America that bans same-sex marriages and its lawmakers are planning to maintain this status quo. While laws in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan are under scrutiny regarding this matter, conservatives feel the urge to pass bills in order to reinforce traditional marriage Texas.
Thus, the new bill, called House Bill 4105, that prevents Texan governments from recognizing gay marriages is expected to pass on Tuesday, the 11th of May, 2015. This adds to the 20 previous bills passed within the past year to impede same-sex couples to tie the knot. It is believed that the regulation comes as a response to the current deliberation carried out by the Supreme Court regarding gay marriages bans, which threatens to rule them out in the future.
House Bill 4105 is expected to reach the Senate soon, given the fact that seventy lawmakers co-authored it. Its creator, Republican Cecil Bell wanted to make sure no state or tax money will be used to issue or recognize same-sex marriages . Moreover, county clerks will be discouraged from filing licenses for such marriages. “This will make certain our dollars are used the way we as Texans want them used,” Bell said at a committee meeting last month.
Regardless of the determination of such lawmakers, the bill has met a lot of criticism from other people, who view it as unconstitutional. It would not be the first time this happens. Earlier this year, in February, a Travis County judge ordered the Clerk to provide a marriage license to Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend, who had been together eight years and wanted their relationship recognized. Back then, the court also ruled that the law was unconstitutional. Among the opponents, Terri Burke, who is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said in a statement to Washington Blade: “This end-run play to subvert a Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, to which the State of Texas would be constitutionally bound, makes Texas a laughing stock and flies in the face of Texas values.” He regarded the bill as discriminatory and mentioned it could be easily perceived as a “shameful attack on LGBT Texans.” He made reference to a similar type of discrimination in Indiana, where the religious-freedom bill permitted various companies to refuse same-sex couples. The law is still under scrutiny at the Supreme Court, which are due to make a decision in June.
Therefore, Joe Deshotel, a representative of the Travis County Democrats Party strongly believes that the Supreme Court will strike down the Republicans’ decision. “We definitely see this as an attack on local government and local control…. As far as individual rights are concerned and really as far as the economy is concerned. Because business groups have come out against these type of laws,” he said.
Nevertheless, Cecil Bell is very determined to disregard all criticism, stating that as long as the Supreme Court has not ruled it out, things will stay the same in Texas, until further notice.
Tuesday is also the day when a religious freedom law will be passed to allow religious organizations to refuse same-sex marriages. This bill – S.B. 2065 could defend clergy members’ right to refuse any services that contravene their religious beliefs. Governor Greg Abbott seemed to agree with such a measure, if one were to judge by his tweet last week: Pastors’ religious liberty to perform weddings must be protected. I hope to see this bill on my desk.” A similar ban was voted in 2005.
Whatever turn this takes, it still remains to be seen whether or not gay marriages will be accepted in the future, as their fate is very much dependent on the Supreme Court’s decision. For now, it is very unlikely that things will change in Texas.
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