A group of Democratic lawmakers in Texas want to repeal the state's ban on gay marriage. 8 years ago, Texas voters excluded gay couples from the state's definition of marriage. According to the Statesman, lawmakers are hoping a shift in public opinion nationally will move the debate in Texas.

A resolution by state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, would repeal the 2005 state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Coleman has filed the bill each session since then, but this is the first time that it has a companion bill in the Senate, filed by state Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso.

“What better time to start to repeal the ban on same-sex civil unions and marriage than the present?” he asked. “It’s not whether (the repeal) happens, it’s when it happens.”

State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, joined Coleman’s efforts this session and said he is committed to providing same-gender couples with the federal and state rights granted to straight married couples.

“My neighbors are impacted by this, the parents of my children’s classmates are impacted by this, my friends are impacted by this,” he said. “It hits very close to home for me and my family.”

Both Anchia and Coleman said the shift in the national conversation on gay marriage provides hope that the Legislature might be willing to revisit the issue.

For the first time in the history of its research, a national Gallup Poll in 2011 found that a majority of Americans agreed that gay marriage should be legal.

Those numbers are lower in Texas, according to a 2012 poll conducted by the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas. It found that 36 percent of Texas voters believe same-sex couples should have the right to marry, and 33 percent believe they should have rights to only civil unions. Still, that’s a change from 2005, when the constitutional amendment passed with more than three-quarters of the vote.

Jonathan Saenz, president of the conservative group Texas Values, said he doesn’t believe the bills have any chance of passing.

“People are entitled to it if they want to have the discussion, but it is not going to happen,” Saenz said. “The numbers aren’t there in the House or the Senate.”

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