Last week was the deadline for Texas lawmakers to file legislation for this year’s session, but that didn’t prevent another anti-gay bill from slipping through.
State Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, has filed SB 1218 that would prevent people from obtaining a marriage license with any document that lacks a photo — including an affidavit of sex change. Advocates say removing an affidavit of sex change from the list of documents that can be used to obtain marriage licenses could bar transgender people from marrying people of the opposite sex.
A similar bill was filed last session by state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, that only targeted the affidavit of sex change, whereas Campbell’s bill removes all documents without a photo.
Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said Campbell’s bill can have the same effect as Williams bill, but it appeared her intent was to mandate all documents used to obtain a marriage license have a photo. He said the bill likely won’t go anywhere because there aren’t a lot of people supporting the change.
Two anti-gay bills filed this session deal with reducing funding for school districts that offer domestic partner benefits and allow college student groups to determine membership.
Several other pro-equality bills were also filed before the deadline, including one that would study the amount of homeless youth in the state, as well as causes and resources for them. Another would study why companies have overlooked Texas as a place to develop business. Others deal with suicide and substance abuse prevention in public schools and changing gender markers.
In total, 28 pro-equality pieces of legislation have been filed, compared to three anti-gay bills.
Smith said this is one of the sessions with the highest number of pro-equality legislation filed and the most in the Senate with eight bills filed, seven of them companions to House measures.
He said the organization has found allies in the House in the past but actively sought out senators who would author and support pro-equality legislation.
“We specially decided this session to focus on both chambers,” he said.
GetEQUAL TX will march around the state Capitol today to advocate for the Senate version of the LGBT employment protections bill during Texas Call to Action for LGBT Workplace Protections from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For a complete list of anti- and pro-equality legislation, go here.