Bill Introduced in Texas Legislature to Permit Same-Sex Civil Unions

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According to the Monitor, a newspaper covering news in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, state Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, has introduced a bill in the Texas state legislature that would permit same-sex civil unions in Texas.

Lifting of ban dependent on amendment to Texas Constitution

If the Texas Legislature were to overturn the ban on same-sex civil unions and if Gov. Rick Perry were to sign it into law, both dubious propositions in a conservative, deep red state, the people of Texas would still have to approve an amendment to the Texas Constitution that banned same-sex unions in 2005, according to the Monitor. The amendment passed, according to the Houston Chronicle, with 76 percent of the vote, while just 24 percent opposed.

Majority of Texans favor some form of same-sex unions

While Hinojosa's bill may face tough sledding in the Texas Legislature, polling remains somewhat ambiguous, The Monitor cites a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll that suggests that a majority of Texans support some kind of recognition of same-sex unions, with 36 percent supporting same-sex marriage and 33 percent supporting the sort of civil unions that Hinojosa is proposing. However the Houston Chronicle cited a Pew Poll that reported that while support for same-sex marriage is rising nationwide, 56 percent of Texans still oppose it.

Perry's opposition

Perry's attitude toward same-sex marriage is somewhat nuanced. While he is firmly opposed to both same-sex marriage and civil unions, citing his signing of the 2003 Texas Defense of Marriage Act that banned both, he has also stated during his recent campaign for president that such matters are best left to the states based on 10th Amendment grounds. The seeming opposition to a nationwide ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions earned Perry a sharp rebuke from some of his opponents in the Republican presidential nomination race.

Changing political landscape for same-sex unions

The backers of Hinojosa's bill, the Monitor suggests, believe that recognizing same-sex civil unions in Texas would be a first step for a full recognition of same-sex marriage in the Lone Star State. Besides poll numbers that point to softening opposition, President Barack Obama has recently changed his previous opposition and has come out in favor of the concept. Litigation against the national Defense of Marriage Act is working its way to the Supreme Court with the outcome uncertain.

Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

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