Texas Anti-Gay Marriage Among Bills in Limbo With Time Running Out

The Texas House has until midnight Thursday to vote on legislation that is on the calendar.

Bills they do not get to, which don’t have similar legislation in the senate, will be out for this session.

Two bills regarding reducing and getting rid of penalties for marijuana possession did not make the cut. They are dead. And a bill designed to make it easier for Uber to do business did not make the floor either.

There still bills ahead of one proposed by Arlington Representative Chris Turner. It calls for all children under two-years-old to be in a rear facing car seat.

A bill that would require all children to ride in a rear-facing car seat until age 2 is in trouble of not moving forward in the Texas Legislature.

It has been a busy few days at the house, as members wait to get their bills to the floor. In order to speed things up, the chair of the house public education committee pulled his bill on school finance reform. It’s a bill that would have taken time to debate.

Meanwhile, an effort by Texas Republicans to defy the U.S. Supreme Court if gay marriage is legalized hung in limbo Thursday, as Democrats tried to run out the clock on bill that would prohibit government employees from issuing wedding licenses to same-sex couples.

Republicans have until midnight to pass the measure in the Texas House, which they overwhelmingly control. But dozens of other bills are stacked ahead in line.

Nearly every House Republican is listed as a sponsor of the legislation. But Texas business groups, pointing to backlash over recent Indiana and Arkansas laws that gay rights activists consider discriminatory, have urged lawmakers to set similar measures aside.

Dell Inc. this week became the most visible company to oppose it publicly. The Texas-based computer maker says it told Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that the company considers diversity a "business imperative."

Outnumbered Democrats are trying to bleed the clock to midnight. They stalled with lengthy debates over noncontroversial issues and tied up the floor with a no-hope bill to raise the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, knowing that Republicans would have sacrifice other legislation to move up the anti-gay marriage measure.

"How many hostages are they willing to shoot?" Democratic state Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer said.

Conservatives remain confident there is time. Republican state Rep. Cecil Bell, who authored the bill, said both sides had optimism.

The atmosphere in the Capitol matched the slow pace on the floor. The House gallery was largely empty as neither supporters nor opponents of HB 4105 made their presence known.

Texas Republicans see the bill as a way to put the state at the forefront of resistance if the Supreme Court upholds same-sex marriage.

If signed by Abbott, it could lay the groundwork for Texas to potentially raise new legal battles over its ability to regulate marriage licenses.

Legal experts have casted doubt over how much success Texas would have mounting such a challenge.

The Alabama Supreme Court earlier this year already prohibited county officials in that state from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Lawmakers in South Carolina are also pushing a bill similar to what was filed in Texas.

With the Texas Legislature adjourns less than three weeks from adjourning, Republicans have accelerated legislation that gay rights activists consider hostile.

This week began with the Senate giving approval for clergy members to refuse to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us