In 2005, Texas voters considered adding an amendment to the state constitution declaring that marriage "shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman" and forbidding any formal recognition of same-sex unions ratified elsewhere.
The measure, controversial only insomuch as some conservatives feared that the language of the amendment -- that Texas "may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage." -- would actually outlaw all marriage, passed easily, with 76 percent of the vote.
A gay Dallas couple who married in Massachusetts challenged the law as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Their attorneys are waiting to see if the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the case after a federal appeals court sided with the state.
In other words, the most likely way of lifting Texas' ban on gay marriage may be taking it back to voters. That's exactly what state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, plans to do.
Anchia, along with Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, filed a resolution yesterday calling for a vote to repeal the 2005 amendment. Specifically, they want to put the following somewhat convoluted language on the November 5 ballot for an up or down vote:
The constitutional amendment repealing the constitutional provision providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
In a statement yesterday, Anchia described the change as a matter of human decency.
"My constituents include many couples and families who are negatively impacted by the current constitutional restrictions," Anchia said. "It is time we revisit this issue; it is time we treat all Texans with dignity and respect."
And gay marriage supporters think the winds are now blowing in their favor.
"Texans now agree that all couples in loving and committed relationships deserve the opportunity to create stronger and more successful families," Equality Texas' Chuck Smith said. "Millions of Texans have had their own very personal evolution on this issue."
As proof, he cites a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll indicating that more than two-thirds of voters support same-sex marriage or civil unions, with only a quarter opposed to either.
Convincing a hidebound Republican legislature to put it up for another vote is a different matter.