The Agenda

Gay lawmaker celebrates rare victory in Texas House

In a legislature dominated by anti-equality forces, victories for equality can be hard to come by. So when the clock struck midnight last night without the Texas House passing the latest in discriminatory legislation, it was cause for celebration.
Representative Celia Israel (D-Austin), one of only two openly LGBTQ members of the legislature, worked with her Democratic colleagues in finding a creative way to defeat HB 4105.  The bill, introduced by Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) would forbid state or local governments from using public funds to issue same-sex marriage licenses or performing any task that recognized those marriages.
Celia and her Democratic colleagues spent two days slowing the legislative calendar through a mix of amendment proposals and parliamentary points of order, a practice known as “chubbing”.  The Democrats bled enough time for the midnight deadline to come and pass without the bill being heard. The defeat was cheered by pro-equality advocates and businesses such as American Airlines and Dell Inc., both of whom came out publicly against the bill in recent days.
HB 4105 was just one of 22 separate Anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation Texas Republicans filed this year. Other bills included constitutional amendments modeled after the Indiana Religious Freedom bill, and anti-trans “Bathroom Bills”. Bell, who sponsored 4 of these anti-LGBTQ bills, vowed to double down on his efforts to stop marriage equality. While HB 4105 can’t come up for a vote in its current form, he is looking to attach the language to another bill. “From my perspective, no bill is dead as long as there are other bills in front. You just have to find something that’s germane,” Bell said of his efforts to prevent marriage equality in Texas
Despite the continued resistance from her Republican colleagues, Celia is ready for a fight. In a statement following the bill’s defeat, she said “Texans are ready for marriage equality, and I look forward to hearing the wedding bells.”

State Legislature