In a move that's been deemed a "Valentine's Day gift," a Texas state representative surprised the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community with a same-sex marriage bill.
The Dallas Voice reports that State Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth) filed HB 1300 on the morning of Feb. 14. The bill would not only remove provisions in the Texas Family Code from 2003 denying same-sex couples the ability to marry in the state, but also allow Texas to recognize same-sex marriages from other states, according to the publication.
"Marriage has been the greatest and most rewarding experience of my life,” Burnam is quoted as saying in a statement by Out Smart Magazine. “Continuing to deny all Texans the freedom to marry robs them of that experience and is detrimental to their families ... Our Texas values mandate defending the right of all Texans to have their rights and responsibilities as couples recognized by the state.”
As the Texas Tribune reported in October, 69 percent of the state's population would support some form of legal partnership for same-sex couples, even though many said they would opt for civil unions as opposed to marriage equality.
Among those to praise the move was Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith.
"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,” he said in a statement. "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."
As Dallas Voice pointed out, HB 1300 follows a Feb. 6 bill filed by Dallas Rep. Rafael Anchia to repeal the state’s anti-gay marriage amendment.
Similarly, the Illinois Senate is expected to advance a bill legalizing same-sex marriage to a vote on Feb. 14, HuffPost Chicago reported.