Dallas City Council discusses discrepancies between state and federal LGBT laws

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The Dallas City Council has been presented with information concerning recent federal changes in same-sex marriage legislation. The information presented might inspire Dallas politicians to consider certain measures granting same-sex couples additional rights and benefits. 

Although same-sex couples are not permitted the right to marry in Texas, the city of Dallas could expand its laws to allow gay couples who have been legally married in another state to receive some of the same benefits that heterosexual couples are granted. 

Assistant City Manager Theresa O’Donnell presented an overview to the Budget Finance and Audit Committee on January 6 explaining the discrepancies between the federal law and current state laws. 

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“I think we’re on par. I think that the city of Dallas does a great job. I think everybody should be looking right now at how their causes and programs align with these new recent court decisions,” O’Donnell said, as reported by WFAA.

Councilman Sheffie Kadane said: “We have state laws, we have state’s rights, and that’s where we’re going to have to go to make sure that the right things are done. We can’t do these types of things and make ordinances without following state law.” 

O’Donnell hopes that by discussing the discrepancies between state and federal law, clarity can be brought to current legislation. 

“It’s untangling this web of federal benefits—what applies in Texas and what do not apply in Texas,” she explained.

This “untangling” could lead to new laws that expand the equality base in Texas. However, Mayor Mike Rawlings, who has expressed support for same-sex marriage, is not in favor of forcing a resolution onto the Council. Motions for a vote can only be made by Rawlings, the Dallas city manager Mary K. Suhm, or by five Council members. 

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