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Lon Bernam

Rep. Lon Burnam Files HB 1300 Providing for the Freedom to Marry in Texas


by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 01:23 PM CST

Even though I can't legally marry in Texas, I can legally blog about not being able to legally marry in Texas. And Rep. Lon Burnam joins a chorus of, yes, Democrats in the Texas legislature that would like to change that.

Today, on Valentine's Day, when the Illinois State Senate is voting on extending marriage equality to its gay & lesbian citizens, Rep. Lon Burnam filed HB 1300 repealing the "statutory prohibition against the recognition of a civil union or similar relationship entered into in another state between two persons of the same sex." If enacted, HB 1300 would provide important legal protections for same-gender couples, including property rights, homestead rights, child custody and support, adoption, intestate succession, probate transfers, group insurance for state employees, and workers' compensation benefits.

"Marriage has been the greatest and most rewarding experience of my life," said Burnam. "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."

The legislation would take effect only if the constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Jose Rodriguez, Rep. Rafael Anchia, or Rep. Garnet Coleman passes the state legislature and is approved by voters. SJR 29, HJR 77 or HJR 78 would repeal the 2005 Texas Constitutional Amendment which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman and prohibits recognition of anything similar to marriage.

"The increasing public support for the freedom to marry in Texas is yet another sign that equal recognition of loving, committed couples is a mainstream Texas value," Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said. "Rep. Burnam has long been an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community and the freedom to marry. HB 1300, together with the Joint Resolutions filed in the House and Senate, are the legislative steps necessary to enact into law what we already know to be true: that LGBT Texans are equal and deserve equal recognition of their familial relationships."

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