Senator files bill to legalize civil unions
Same sex couples would have access to many of the benefits and legal protections afforded to heterosexual married couples if a bill and several resolutions filed in the Texas Legislature gain approval. The bill, filed by state Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, would partially repeal the Texas Defense of Marriage Act of 2003, which prevents Texas from recognizing same sex unions. In a statement, Hinojosa cited a 2012 public opinion poll conducted by UT and The Texas Tribune showing that a majority of Texas voters favored some legal recognition of same-sex couples. "Texans are now realizing the importance of providing same-gender couples the same protections that married couples receive," Hinojosa said. The bill would provide same sex couples certain legal protections including property rights, adoption rights and worker compensation benefits. One of the three constitutional amendments proposed last week by state Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, or state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, must pass in both the House and the Senate by a two-thirds majority vote and then approved by Texas voters in order for Hinojosa’s bill to take effect in 2014.