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Texas to have November referendum on marriage ban

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5022190,00.html Gay Marriage Ban to Go Before Texas Voters Saturday May 21, 2005 9:31 PM AUSTIN, Texas (AP)
    Message 1 of 1 , May 21 9:13 PM
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      http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5022190,00.html

      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
      woman.

      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
      into question.

      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
      Senate.

      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.
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