Texas bill could give same-sex couples legal protections

Currently, the Texas Marriage Amendment mandates that marriage is defined as a union between one man and one woman. This law bars same-sex couples from having many of the same legal rights as opposite-sex couples have. However, this could be about to change, as any Texas same-sex family attorney knows, due to the introduction of a bill, which if passed, would allow civil unions between same-sex couples.

Recently, Texas Senator Chuy Hinojosa introduced Senate Bill 480 to legalize civil unions in Texas, if the portion of the Texas 2003 Defense of Marriage Act that bars civil unions is repealed. This introduction follows resolutions filed last week by several state senators seeking repeal of the 2005 amendment, the Texas Marriage Amendment. Currently, the Texas Marriage Amendment prohibits the recognition of civil unions and other arrangements that are similar to marriage.

Bill 480 would allow same-sex couples to have the same legal protections as opposite-sex couples, including adoption rights, child custody and support rights, property rights and homestead rights.

The bill also comes on the heels of a bill introduced in the Texas House of Representatives, which would expand the rights of same-sex parents in adoption. That bill would let both parents in a same-sex adoption have their names on supplemental birth certificates, which eliminates some legal challenges, such as obtaining a Social Security card and other government benefits for the child

If the repeal is successful, and if Bill 480 passes, the changes would not go into effect until 2014.

Source: NBCLatino.com, "Bill may allow civil unions in Texas," Erin Murray, Feb. 15, 2013

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