Same-sex marriage draws passionate debate at Capitol

AUSTIN -- Competing events put same-sex marriage center stage at the State Capitol Monday.

At an afternoon rally, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick argued that marriage is a state's right to decide.

"It's not about being anti-anyone. It's about marriage being between a man and a woman," said Patrick. "It's not the federal government's business to tell Texans what to do in Texas on any issue."

The Rev. Bill Owens spoke at a second traditional marriage rally at the state capitol earlier in the morning. He said the Coalition of African American Pastors believes gay marriage is not a civil rights issue.

"They took the civil rights movement and hijacked it. They saw a way to get in the door. They don't believe it themselves. They were never beaten, they were never hung from trees," said Owens.

Brian Stephens, his partner and their adopted son are lobbying lawmakers to end discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"I think this entire movement is understanding that things can be equal, but they don't have to be the same or look the same," Stephens said.

Equality Texas organized the advocacy event at the Capitol.

"We believe most Texans are on our side and the values of equal treatment for everyone is one all Texans believe in," said Chuck Smith, the executive director of Equality Texas.

Smith believes Texas will see change when the U.S. Supreme Court rules on same-sex marriage in June.


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