Texas, USA: Republican Urges Repeal of Sodomy Law; Universities Push for Ability to Provide Domestic Partner Benefits

Written by scott on March 1st, 2013

TexasA couple interesting stories out of Texas today. First off, a GOP strategist is pushing for Texas to officially repeal its outdated (and blocked) sodomy ban. The Dallas Voice reports:

Republican strategist Dan Neil told Fox News in Austin that it’s time to take S21.06, the homosexual conduct law, off the books in Texas. That provision of the Texas Penal Code was declared unconstitutional in 2003 in the Lawrence v. Texas case. Last week, state Rep. Jessica Farrar of Houston filed a repeal bill in the Texas House. State Sen. Jose Rodriguez filed a companion bill in the Senate. “If it’s unconstitutional, they should take the measures and time to get it off the books,” Neil said. “It makes fiscal sense to get it off the books so that there is not another situation as in El Paso where there’s a lawsuit and the city pays out for something that it shouldn’t pay out for just because a legislator didn’t take the time to get it off the books.”

And the Voice also reports that two Texas universities are asking the legislature to amend state law to allow them to offer domestic partner benefits to gay and lesbian employees:

State Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, filed HB 1140 in February to provide competitive benefits to employees of the University of Texas and Texas A&M University systems.Texas law currently mandates that the systems offer health benefits to dependents specified as spouses and children under the Texas Insurance Code. But the Texas Family Code defines spouse as “a husband, who is a man, or a wife, who is a woman,” and specifies that “a member of a civil union or similar relationship … between persons of the same sex is not a spouse.” Naishtat’s bill would add “qualified individuals” to the dependents category of the insurance code, allowing same-sex partners of employees to be added to their health insurance plans.

So if we’re lucky, we may finally see some small movement on LGBT rights in the Lone Star State.

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