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New Group Focused on Equality for Texas LGBT Community

PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments next month on the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage, as is currently the law in Texas. Photo credit: us006409/Flickrl.
PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments next month on the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage, as is currently the law in Texas. Photo credit: us006409/Flickrl.
March 16, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas - As the legal battle continues in Texas over same-sex marriage, a new group is forming to help members of the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community overcome challenges in all aspects of their daily lives.

Kelsey Snapp, a staff attorney for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, said the working group will bring together a number of organizations that are part of the Equal Voice Network, with a first meeting expected next month.

"Kind of set priorities and see what the needs are in the community and what expertise our organizations have, what our organizations have already been doing," he said. "How can we coordinate, that type of thing."

While great strides have been made over the last decade, Snapp said, there are still a number of struggles facing the LGBT community in Texas, from bullying in schools to workplace discrimination.

There also is the ban on same-sex marriage, an issue about which the U.S. Supreme Court will take oral arguments next month. The court will consider whether state bans are constitutional, Snapp said, and, if the court decides that they are, "then the second issue that they would look at is whether states like Texas would still be required to recognize marriages from outside of the state.

"So for example, right now, if a same-sex couple gets married in California and they move here, the state of Texas doesn't consider them married for any purposes."

The Supreme Court will hear the arguments on marriage equality on April 28, with a ruling expected by late June.

More information about the Equal Voice Network is online at rgvequalvoicenetwork.blogspot.com. Information on the Supreme Court case is at scotusblog.com.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TX