Yesterday in the Texas House, Democratic Representatives Rafael Anchia and Garnet Coleman filed twin resolutions, HJR 77 and 78 which propose “a constitutional amendment to repeal the constitutional provision providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”
If passed by a 2/3rds majority of both the House and Senate, it would put the question on the November 2013 constitutional amendment ballot to effectively repeal HJR 6 aka Prop 2 from the 2005 legislation session which passed by a 76-24 margin by Texas voters in the fall of 2005.
“In 2005, most Texans did not support any form of legal recognition for lesbian and gay couples. But, public opinion has changed greatly in the last eight years, both across the country and right here in Texas,” said Representative Coleman, who has championed a repeal in multiple legislative sessions. “Two-thirds of Texas' voters now believe the state should allow some form of legal recognition for committed same-gender couples,” Coleman said.
While a majority of Texans still oppose marriage equality, an October, 2012 University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll reported that 36 percent of Texas voters surveyed would support allowing lesbian & gay couples to marry, while another 33 percent would allow civil unions but not marriage. Only 25 percent of Texas voters said that same-gender couples should neither be allowed to marry nor enter into a civil union.
“Millions of Texans have had their own very personal evolution on this issue,” said Chuck Smith, Executive Director at Equality Texas. “Texans now agree that all couples in loving and committed relationships deserve the opportunity to create stronger and more successful families. Because the Texas Constitution currently prohibits any form of recognition similar to marriage, the first step toward civil unions or marriage must be repeal of the discriminatory 2005 amendment,” Smith concluded.
While unlikely to garner 2/3rds support in both chambers this session given that Democrats hold only slightly more than 1/3rd support in either house, today's Democratic caucus consists of a greater percentage of proponents of marriage equality than the 2005 session. As the party rebuilds its coalition in coming years it is likely to garner far more supportive votes towards an eventual repeal, if the Supreme Court does not rule such bans unconstitutional first.