AUSTIN, Texas - Mere weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court heard unprecedented arguments about whether the Constitution protects same-sex couples' rights to marry, Texas Republicans are moving to shield the state from abiding by an eventual ruling that may not go their way.
Two bills on the issue are scheduled for hot-button House votes Tuesday. The most-watched proposal would bar state, county and local officials from issuing or enforcing a same-sex marriage license, and prevent recognition of gay marriages performed in other states.
Also up for debate and passage is a religious objections bill that could give Texas a taste of the uproar similar measures caused when legislatures approved them recently in Indiana and Arkansas. Rep. Scott Sanford wants to excuse clergy members from presiding over weddings that violate their religious beliefs. The McKinney Republican's bill would also allow religious organizations to refuse to sell goods or provide services to same-sex couples.
Those votes come as the Senate prepares, perhaps as early as Monday, to approve its own religious objections measure - this one also shielding clergy members from officiating gay marriages they oppose on religious grounds.
The language of the bill is not as controversial, but conservative pastors supporting it lined up last week to decry gay marriage as offensive to God.