Lon Burnam files marriage equality bill as Valentine’s Day gift to LGBT Texans

State Rep. Lon Burnam

State Rep. Lon Burnam

As marriage equality supporters prepare for marriage counter protests today, State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, gave the LGBT community a Valentine’s Day gift in the form of HB 1300.

The bill filed this morning would remove provisions in the Texas Family Code from 2003 that deny same-sex couples the ability to marry in the state. It would also allow Texas to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

“Marriage has been the greatest and most rewarding experience of my life,” Burnam said in a statement. “Continuing to deny all Texans the freedom to marry robs them of that experience and is detrimental to their families. Texans want a state where anyone can work hard and provide for their families. Our Texas values mandate defending the right of all Texans to have their rights and responsibilities as couples recognized by the state.”

This is the fifth relationship recognition bill filed in two weeks in the Texas Legislature. Reps. Garnet, D-Houston, and Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, filed joint resolutions to repeal the state’s anti-gay marriage amendment last week, as did state Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, marking the first time the repeal legislation had a Senate companion bill. And earlier this week, state Sen. Chuy Hinojosa, D-McAllen, filed legislation to create civil unions for gay couples.

The marriage amendment repeal legislation would need to receive a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers to be placed on the ballot, as well as support from a majority of voters in November, in order for Hinojosa or Burnam’s bill to go into effect.

Hinojosa has already received harsh criticism from both opponents of marriage equality and members of the LGBT community who want full marriage equality, not civil unions. Equality Texas’ field organizer Daniel Williams wrote about the threats and hateful comments the senator has received since filing the legislation Monday, adding that while he disagrees with him, he still supports his efforts to move Texas toward equality.

“I know that Sen. Hinojosa filed SB 480 because he is a good, kind man who sincerely wants Texas to be a state with fairness, freedom and equality for all people,” Williams wrote. “I respectfully disagree with the Senator that civil unions are the best avenue for achieving equality (let me rephrase that: I STRONGLY disagree with the Senator that civil unions are the best avenue for achieving equality), but that disagreement doesn’t mean that he’s evil or stupid… it just means we disagree.”

Watch Burnam’s video announcement and read Equality Texas’ full release about the bill below.

—  Dallasvoice

Last minute Valentine meal ideas

heartsFor those who really wait until the last minute to plan for Valentine’s — hey, first you gotta find a boyfriend — here are some other suggestions for what to do tonight:

• Bread Winners has a three-course dinner menu (salad, entree choice, sweets) that runs about $34/person (you share a dessert), more if you choose their wine pairings, at all four locations, including the one in Uptown (214-754-4940).

• The Gin Mill has paired local craft breweries like Deep Ellum and Four Corners alongside the pub-inspired courses. And heck — if you want wine, they have that too, from gay-owned Times Ten Cellars. Cost is $60/person. 214-824-3343 or GinMillDallas.com.

• Q de Cheval at the Hotel Inter-Continental is extending Valentine’s through the weekend, with a selection of four courses (including dessert — a heart pastry filled with raspberry mousse for two) plus a glass of champagne for $69/person. 972-386-3061.

• The Cedars Social offers a three-course menu including beet gnocchi, dayboat scallops, Berkshire pork rack and steamed fluke, plus dessert, for $75/person. 214-928-7700.

• If you’re over in Fort Worth, Lanny’s Mexican cocina’s Valentine’s menu also extends from Feb. 14 to 16, with main courses of ribeye or trout, a first course of lobster agnelotti or scallops, and a dessert, for $95/person. 817-850-9996.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Same-sex couples to request marriage licenses on Valentine’s Day in Dallas

Valentines

On Valentine’s Day 2012, County Clerk John Warren, right, explained to Daniel Cates, left, and same-sex couples trying to get married that he could not issue marriage licenses to them. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Mark “Major” Jiminez is planning a Valentine’s Day marriage counter protest in Dallas, in coordination with protests across the country organized by Freedom to Marry.

“Nothing better highlights the state-sanctioned discrimination against same-sex couples than having same-sex couples, often with children and grandchildren in tow, turned away from the counter that serves every other heterosexual couple that approaches – no questions asked,” Freedom to Marry’s Brian Silva wrote in a press release.

Last year, several couples applied for marriage licenses in Dallas on Valentine’s Day and were turned away.

Jiminez, who attended the rally, walked to City Hall with GetEqual’s Daniel Cates after the protest to deliver Valentine’s cards to Mayor Mike Rawlings. The mayor had just refused to join Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. Jiminez was arrested on July 5 when he applied for his own marriage license and refused to leave the building.

The County Records Building is at 509 Main St. and protesters will gather outside on the plaza before noon.

Also, on March 25, Cates is organizing a rally in coordination with the National Call for Equality — called “Dallas says, ‘We do,’” — in advance of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases on March 26 and 27.

“Please bring signs in support of equal rights, Pride flags, candles and plenty of friends,” Cates writes on the Facebook event page.

People will meet at the Legacy of Love Monument on the corner of Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs Road.

—  David Taffet