Gay Marriage Ban to Go Before Texas Voters
Saturday May 21, 2005 9:31 PM
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Senate approved a
proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage with
a 21-8 vote Saturday, sending the issue to voters.
Last month, the House narrowly passed the proposal,
which would define marriage as between one man and one
State law already prohibits same-sex marriages. If
approved in a statewide vote in November, Texas would
join 14 states that statutorily and constitutionally
ban same-sex marriage. Massachusetts is the only state
that allows such marriages, although Vermont and
Connecticut have approved same-sex civil unions.
Opponents have criticized the ban as discrimination
against gays and lesbians and warn it could harm
heterosexual families if domestic partner benefits,
powers of attorney and common law marriage are called
Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine, who sponsored the
legislation in the Senate, said none of those
scenarios would be affected and would not prevent
same-sex couples from adopting children. The House has
voted to ban gays from becoming foster parents, but
that measure has received little support in the
Staples rejected arguments the amendment would
discriminate against gays and lesbians and the
estimated 43,000 same-sex couples in Texas.
Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, equated the amendment to
Jim Crow-era laws that discriminated against blacks.
``At least they had the good sense to never write
their bigotry into the state Constitution,'' said
Ellis, who called the amendment ``trash.''
Staples said he is offended by accusations the
amendment is anti-gay.
``There's a distinction between intimate associations
and the right to have the government recognize or
subsidize your arrangement,'' Staples said.