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Texas To Ban Officials From Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Texas Republicans are working to pass a bill banning local officials from issuing same-sex marriage licenses, in anticipation of a possible Supreme Court ruling this summer declaring same-sex marriage legal.

The measure would prohibit any state or local official from using “any funds” to issue a marriage license, recognize a marriage license, or declare an informal marriage for any union that is not between one man and one woman. (RELATED: Alabama Judges Still Battling Feds Over Same-Sex Marriage)

It also prohibits the state from using any funds to enforce an order that requires an official to issue a same-sex marriage license, enforce or recognize a same-sex marriage license, or declare an informal same-sex marriage.

Passage of the measure would set up an immediate confrontation between Texas and the Supreme Court, if the Court rules that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right and therefore legal in all 50 states. (RELATED: Presbyterian Church (USA) Officially Endorses Gay Marriage)

That ruling would supersede any provision in the Texas Constitution barring same-sex marriages, but overturning the legislative ban would likely require a long and costly legal battle.

“The purpose of this act is to affirm that the definition and regulation of marriage is within the sole authority and realm of the separate states and the people within those states,” the legislation reads.

Supporters of the measure, introduced by Republican Texas Rep. Cecil Bell, told The Washington Post the goal is to send a powerful message to the Supreme Court by passing it, and to keep the same-sex marriage battle tied up in the courts as long as possible.

“This is indicative of this clash that we’re seeing and will see at an increased level with the Supreme Court ruling coming,” Mat Staver, president of public-interest law firm Liberty Counsel told The Washington Post.

A vote is scheduled as soon as Tuesday, and the measure appears to have plenty of support in both chambers.

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