Texas Republicans look to approve legislation that would ban local officials from granting same-sex couples licenses to marry, launching a preemptive strike against a possible U.S. Supreme Court ruling next month that could declare gay marriage legal.
Supporters of the measure said it would send a powerful message to the court. Taking a cue from the anti-abortion movement, they said they also hoped to keep any judicially sanctioned right to same-sex marriage tied up in legal battles for years to come.
The measure, by Rep. Cecil Bell, a Republican from the outskirts of Houston, would prohibit state and local officials from using taxpayer dollars “to issue, enforce, or recognize a marriage license . . . for a union other than a union between one man and one woman.”
Bell said the bill “simply preserves state sovereignty over marriage.”
Gay rights advocates condemned it as mean-spirited and discriminatory.
The law would clearly be unconstitutional as any ruling by the Supreme Court would supersede state law. But that doesn’t bother the haters in the Lone Star state. Even if unconstitutional, the issue will take up years of costly court battles their side will lose. But they’d rather make their discriminatory stand than step into the new century.
In order for the bill to pass, it will need to be approved in the House before the end of business Thursday night in order to be sent on to the state Senate.
In addition to Bell’s House bill, the Texas Senate began the week by approving a separate bill allowing clergy members to refuse to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs.