The clock ticking toward midnight Thursday sounded a death knell for a Texas House bill designed to defy the U.S. Supreme Court should it, as many expect, rule in favor of same-sex marriage this summer.
The bill’s author, however, still has faith that it will be resurrected before the session ends June 1.
House Bill 4105, introduced by Rep. Cecil Bell Jr., R-Magnolia, would prohibit local and state governments from using public funds to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
But House Democrats on Thursday night used a classic delaying tactic called “chubbing.” They debate legislation until midnight, the deadline for bill passing lower-chamber bills.
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Bell, who said his proposed law was to protect the state’s sovereign rights, will attempt to find a Senate-passed bill to which he can attach it. He’ll have to find one to which his amendment would be germane, preferably by a senator who agrees with his plan.
The representative and his fellow Republicans at the Capitol, including Gov. Greg Abbott, have vowed to fight a potential ruling from the high court that would approve same-sex marriage. They insist that’s what the majority of Texans want, based on polling and voting trends.
On Friday, 93 Republican House members signed a declaration in which they “solemnly proclaim that the institution of marriage is clearly established in Article 1 Section 32 of the Texas Constitution as a union consisting of one man and one woman.”
The pledge said the legislators “affirm the preservation of the present definition of marriage” and “pledge to uphold and defend this principle that is so dearly held by Texans far and wide.”
Regardless what Texas lawmakers proclaim or affirm, and in spite of any legislation to the contrary, what the Supreme Court rules becomes the law of the land — including Texas.
Bell and his cohorts would do well to respect that ruling, whatever it turns out to be.