by Paul J. Weber
AUSTIN, Texas — Gay rights activists say a showdown in Texas is looming over an attempt by Republicans to pass new laws before the U.S. Supreme Court possibly legalizes gay marriage.
Nearly all Republicans in the Texas House are sponsoring a bill that would prohibit state and local officials from issuing same-sex marriage licenses regardless of how the Supreme Court rules. A vote could come early as Tuesday.
Opponents say Texas Republicans want to lay groundwork for lawsuits if the state’s ban on gay marriage is struck down. Texas business leaders have urged lawmakers to not pursue the kind of divisive measures that led to backlashes recently in Indiana and Arkansas.
The Texas Senate began the week by approving a separate bill allowing clergy members to refuse to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs.