TEXAS: "Defy SCOTUS" Bill Might See New Life Today In State House Vote
Texas state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, intends to attach an amendment similar to his previous bill barring the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples to a bill protecting clergy from being forced to perform same-sex marriages during a House floor vote on Thursday, May 21. Bell filed HB 4105, also known as “The Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act,” ahead of an anticipated summer Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality. It would have withheld pay from county clerks issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. After its defeat last week, Bell told reporters he wasn’t giving up on it. Though an amendment must be considered germane to a bill, Equality Texas reports that Bell intends to attach HB 4105 to SB 2065, which passed the Senate last week on a 21-10 vote with all Republicans and one Democrat voting for it. While HB 4105 died before it could get a vote, it garnered support from the majority of the House HOP caucus.Even if Bell's amendment is not attached to SB 2065 today, its passage could mean that clergy who also work for the state as justice of the peace or county clerk could refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses or officiate those weddings. Reporter Chuck Lindell will be covering the proceedings on Twitter and a live-stream of the voting will be here.