Texas House soon to vote on laws reinforcing traditional marriage

FILE - Rainbow flag (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
FILE - Rainbow flag (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) —  All eyes, including the eyes of Texas, are on the Supreme Court as it deliberates its ruling on same-sex marriage. Laws from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee are all being challenged, and that is driving conservative lawmakers to reinforce traditional marriage in Texas — to be one man and one woman. This week, lawmakers will take up and likely pass bills that will reinforce the status quo.

A court ordered the Travis County Clerk to issue a marriage license to Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant back in February. Debate still rages over if officials acted legally.

“And the truth is, no,” said Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia.

He filed a bill banning taking in or spending tax dollars on same-sex marriage licenses. The House will vote on the issue this week.

‘The power of the purse in these matters. Those dollars that might otherwise be retained by the county, will not be retained,” Bell said. “It codifies what the 254 counties will do.”

“We definitely see this as an attack on local government and local control,” said Joe Deshotel, from the Travis County Democrats.

He believes this law would be swept away with the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage.

“In the end, it goes against directly what they claim to support as far as liberty it concerned — 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,” said Deshotel.

But Bell says since a Texas law isn’t under scrutiny by the top court, people shouldn’t expect anything to change here in Texas.

“I’m saying it doesn’t guarantee you that that’s the outcome,” said Rep. Bell.

It’s an outcome that will play out in the weeks and months ahead.

Some 37 states allow same-sex marriage, and 26 of them do so by court decisions. Lawmakers of eight states chose to legalize it. In three states, the people themselves actually voted to approve it. Texas is one of 13 that bans it.

On Tuesday, the Texas House will also take up a religious freedom law that will defend a religious organization’s right to not recognize a same-sex marriage. All of this comes with a week of deadlines coming, the first one Monday. If a House bill hasn’t had a hearing in a House committee, it will die.

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