The Texas state senate gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that would prevent the state from recognizing civil unions or marriages between gay people, the Houston Chronicle reports. It will now go to the house of representatives for consideration.
Even though Texas law currently bans marriage between members of the same sex, the bill's sponsor, Republican state senator Jeff Wentworth, says this bill is necessary to clarify that law, which includes no reference to civil unions. The bill does include a provision that would allow gay men and lesbians to continue receiving life insurance proceeds and property rights from their partners "without the existence of any legally recognized familial relationship."
"The passage of [this bill] by the Texas senate illustrates a fact that gays and lesbians know all too well: Texas discriminates," said Randall Ellis, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas. "Gays and lesbians are denied literally hundreds upon hundreds of rights and privileges--everything from tax exemptions to hospital visitation rights."