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Marriage Equality

Austin City Council Backs Marriage Equality

Austin City Council Backs Marriage Equality

The vote is symbolic but significant, say council members in the progressive university city.

Austin became the first city in Texas to endorse marriage equality, with a unanimous vote by the City Council Thursday.

The vote was purely symbolic, as the council has no power change state law on marriage or enable the city to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, notes the Austin American-Statesman. But "simple, symbolic acts matter," said council member Sheryl Cole. She also wants city lobbyists to meet with state lawmakers during next year's legislative session to discuss repeal or modification of the marriage ban.

Council members compared the battle for marriage equality to the fights for women's suffrage and African-American civil rights, and equality advocates gathered at City Hall in support of the council's move.

Austin, the state capital and home to the main University of Texas campus, has a reputation for progressive politics evident in previous actions by the council. It has banned antigay discrimination by businesses operating in the city and offered domestic-partner benefits to municipal employees. LGBT rights group Equality Texas had asked the council to take a stand on marriage equality.

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