Despite increased support for same-sex relationship recognition across the country and in Texas, conservative state leaders believe voters still agree with the state’s constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage.
Five pieces of legislation have recently been filed by state lawmakers to repeal the state’s marriage amendment and to allow marriage equality or civil unions if the amendment is repealed.
But former state Rep. Warren Chisum, who authored the amendment, still believes that Texas voters support it.
“I know there’s a big push, seems like, around the United States, but you know, I don’t think Texas has changed their mind,” Chisum told the San Antonio Express-News. “We’ll be the oddball of all of them, I guess. If everybody else in the country switches, I still think the view of Texas is a little more conservative than the rest of the country.”
A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry’s also said he agrees with voters who passed the amendment in 2005 and the definition of marriage in Texas should stay between a woman and a man.
State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, filed a bill Thursday to bring marriage equality to Texas and mandate the recognition of same-sex marriage performed in other states. The legislation would go into effect only if legislation to repeal the marriage amendment were first successful. The repeal legislation would need a two-thirds majority in both chambers and a majority of support from voters in November.
While lawmakers and LGBT advocates have admitted the process to repeal the amendment would be a challenge, nine lawmakers signed on as co-authors of Burnam’s bill yesterday — Reps. Mary Gonzalez, Ana Hernandez Luna, Donna Howard, Eddie Lucio III, Poncho Nevárez, Mark Strama, Chris Turner, Armando Walle and Gene Wu.
Burnam’s office said the bill was sent out to the Democratic Caucus last night, so more lawmakers are expected to sign on as co-author.
Equality Texas’ field organizer Daniel Williams released a special Valentine’s Day issue of the organization’s weekly legislative update, which highlights the need for five pieces of recently filed legislation for marriage equality, as well as a Friday edition. Equality Texas is calling on supporters of the legislation to contact their representatives to encourage them to sign on as co-author and support the bill.
Watch both legislative updates below.