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Texas lawmakers drop effort to defy expected Supreme Court ruling

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Texans as well as LGBT couples throughout the country are awaiting a potentially-historic ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the legalization of same-sex marriage. A number of legal experts and scholars are predicting that the high court will hand down a ruling that effectively legalizes same-sex marriages throughout the country. That ruling is expected to be announced by the end of this month.

In anticipation of such a ruling, some representatives in the Texas legislature have sought to pass a bill that would allow state officials to defy it. This is not the first attempt by a state to thwart the efforts of LGBT rights advocates to end the patchwork of state laws and court rulings regarding same-sex marriage. Earlier this year, Alabama's supreme court determined that county officials there could not grant same-sex couples marriage licenses.

The Texas bill, however, died in both houses of the state legislature. House members declined to vote on it. Then, shortly before the legislature ended the current session the last week of May, state senators also decided not to bring it up for a vote. Senators instead passed a resolution that merely said that marriage should be between members of the opposite sex.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman, a Democrat, said of the language in the now-moribund bill, "It is offensive to my constituents, it's offensive to me, and it's offensive to our constitution." However, in the end, even the Republican majority in both houses didn't seem to have the stomach for a debate on the matter.

Pressure from Texas business groups and Texas-based computer giant Dell Inc. may have played some role in the legislators' decision to drop the measure. Dell said that it considers diversity a "business imperative."

Regardless of the Supreme Court's decision, strong feelings around same-sex marriage are likely to continue. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said, "I'm not as concerned about being on the wrong side of history as I am being on the wrong side of what I believe."

Same-sex couples in Texas, whether already legally married in another state or waiting to tie the knot here, are looking to the Supreme Court to end the state of limbo that many find themselves in. Experienced legal guidance in any sort of family law matter, including marriage, divorce and child custody, is always advisable. However, for Texas same-sex couples, it is particularly crucial.

Source: KTRK-TV Houston, "Divisive Anti-Gay Marriage Bill Falls in Texas Legislature," May. 28, 2015

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