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Texas lawmakers push to repeal state’s mini-DOMA

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Two Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives have proposed constitutional amendments that would repeal Texas’s ‘mini-DOMA,’ the 2005 amendment that limits marriage in the state to opposite-sex couples only.

One of the lawmakers, Garnet Coleman of Houston, told the Dallas Morning News that polls show Texans are open to changing the legal status of same-sex couples under state law.  “Two-thirds of Texas’ voters now believe the state should allow some form of legal recognition for committed same-gender couples,” he told the paper.  A poll last year found that only a quarter of the state’s residents believe same-sex couples should not be provided legal rights.

The other representative, Rafael Anchia of Dallas, told Morning News, “It is time we revisit this issue; it is time we treat all Texans with dignity and respect.”

The fate of Coleman and Anchia’s marriage bills may mirror the successes and frustrations of equality advocates in another deep-red state, Wyoming, where gay rights bills progressed further than they have in the past but were nevertheless ultimately defeated.  The proposed constitutional amendments in Texas would require two-thirds of the vote in the Republican-heavy House and Senate, a heavy lift, to say the least.

Still, it’s significant that even lawmakers in GOP-dominated states are making marriage equality in the issue, since it begins a conversation that can develop and change as public opinion and lawmakers’ attitudes shift over time.

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