Tags: Gay Marriage | Supreme Court | Texas | gay marriage | ban | supreme court

Texas GOP Legislators Move to Strengthen Gay Marriage Ban

By    |   Tuesday, 28 Apr 2015 12:07 PM

Texas Republicans are bracing themselves for a Supreme Court decision that might favor gay marriage by issuing a flurry of legislative measures that would uphold the spirit of the state's gay marriage ban, according to The Texas Tribune.

Numerous anti-gay marriage bills are before the legislature. One measure would forbid using state or local funds to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Another would withhold the salary of state and local government employees who issue gay marriage licenses, and a third would integrate language into the current state law, saying that federal laws or rulings do not apply to Texas.

"If the case being heard by the court is not in your state, it doesn't necessarily mean you will see states flock to align themselves with the ruling that comes out of the Supreme Court," said GOP state Rep. Cecil Bell.

Some experts say, however, that the measures would not stand up to legal scrutiny.

"This legislation that is being proffered by Texas is actually completely irrelevant on the question of the national right to marriage," said Texas A&M law professor Meg Penrose, according to the Tribune.

"Right now, Texas has the right as an independent state to decide for itself whether same-sex marriages can be entered into in Texas or recognized. But if the United States Supreme Court says the U.S. Constitution answers these very questions, then because we're a constitutional democracy, Texas will lose its right to prohibit or continue to prohibit those relationships."

The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on Tuesday on the constitutionality of marriage bans in Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, and Kentucky and whether the states must recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Gay rights lawyers have been rigorously preparing their case with the aim of establishing a commanding victory.

"Gay rights groups are hoping to secure not only the right to marry but also a symbolic and practical victory that would transform the status of gay Americans, affirming their dignity and protecting them from other kinds of government discrimination," The New York Times said.

Penrose said that if the court rules that gay marriage is a national right, it "will have a revolutionary effect on Texas as a state," the Tribune reported.

"If in this question the United States Supreme Court disagrees with Texas, Texas does not have the legal ability to avoid that ruling," she said. "The Constitution is the supreme law of the land."

Bell, however, said that the measures being introduced in the legislature are designed to assert the sovereignty of state rights, the Tribune said.

The Washington Post said that in other deep-red states, such as Oklahoma, Utah, and Kansas, lawmakers and officials will also try to find ways to stop gay marriage in the event the court rules in favor of it. The newspaper said that groups may try to invalidate existing marriages or withhold state benefits for gay couples who have married.

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Texas Republicans are bracing themselves for a Supreme Court decision that might favor gay marriage by issuing a flurry of legislative measures that would uphold the spirit of the state's gay marriage ban, according to The Texas Tribune.
Texas, gay marriage, ban, supreme court
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2015-07-28
Tuesday, 28 Apr 2015 12:07 PM
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