Austin, Texas (February 14, 2013) – In a Valentine’s Day gift to all Texans, State Representative Lon Burnam (D-90) today filed legislation [HB 1300] to permit same-gender couples in Texas the freedom to marry. The legislation would remove revisions made to the state’s Family Code in 2003 that prohibit the recognition of marriages between two people of the same gender, either performed in Texas or in other states.
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.”
An October 2012 poll by the Texas Tribune and University of Texas shows that 69% of Texans support some form of legal recognition of same-gender relationships.
“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.”
The legislation would take effect only if the constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Jose Rodriguez [SJR 29], Rep. Rafael Anchia [HJR 77] or Rep. Garnet Coleman [HJR 78] 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.