A Democratic state senator has dredged up anti-gay marriage legislation that advocates thought was dead this session, attaching the language to an uncontroversial county affairs bill under the noses of his fellow Democrats.
While gay rights advocates decried the move, the bill’s original sponsor in the House said he would never let his legislation pass with the anti-same-sex marriage language in-tact.
“I’m the author of the bill. I will resolve the bill,” said Rep. Garnet Coleman, D- Houston, a staunch gay marriage advocate.
House Bill 2977, as Coleman originally filed it, was an uncontroversial county affairs placeholder bill, meant to act as a vehicle for lawmakers to ensure important local issues can be passed late in the session.
As the bill was headed to the Senate committee for approval this week, however, Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. attached a number of other bills to Coleman’s legislation, including one that would seek to block a Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage.
Lucio attached House Bill 4105 by Magnolia Republican Cecil Bell, Jr., to Coleman’s placeholder bill. Bell’s bill, which was defeated in the House earlier this month, would bar state or local governments from using public money to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
The Supreme Court is slated to rule on the issue later this summer, possibly striking down same-sex marriage bans in Texas and 12 other states that still prohibit the practice.
“At its core, the amendment added to HB 2977 by Sen. Lucio is an attempt to subvert any future ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the freedom to marry,” said Chuck Smith, executive director for the gay rights group Equality Texas. “Pursuing a strategy to defy the Supreme Court will cost Texas taxpayers millions in litigation and cause great damage to our economy and reputation. In its present form, HB2977 must be defeated.”
Coleman said he would do just that.
If the bill passes in the GOP-dominated Senate, which Coleman expects it to, it would need to return to the House, where the lower chamber’s members would have to concur with the changes. Coleman said if he can’t strip the anti-gay marriage off his legislation, then he would withdraw it completely.
“If I can’t get it off, then the bill goes to bill heaven,” Coleman said. “I don’t support that legislation or that language.”
See here for what I had thought would be the last update on this. Rep. Coleman is a staunch ally and knows his procedures, so if he says this will not pass, I believe him. It’s still a shock and a disgrace and another reminder that Eddie Lucio (the Senator; his son the State Rep is fine) needed to be put out to electoral pasture a long time ago. I really really really want to see someone primary him. The Trib and Equality Texas have more.