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Texas Sized Leap: Dallas D.A. Backs Marriage Equality

The Dallas Voice reported yesterday that Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins has endorsed marriage equality.

According to the article, Watkins supports a domestic partner registry. In an interview with the Voice, Watkins made this argument for equality:

"This is America, and we shouldn't discriminate against anyone for whatever reason, and so I think it's a disservice for us as Americans to say that just because you are a certain lifestyle, that you can't have the same rights as someone else," Watkins told the Voice. "I think it goes towards, you know, when we were going through the civil rights movement, issues that we dealt with back then, which, basically, I can understand very clearly because of who I am. ..."

"It goes back to quality of life issues, and as a DA, I'm responsible for improving the quality of the lives of all of the citizens I represent," Watkins said. "I'm the lawyer for everybody in Dallas County, and so I can't be against something that will make your life better. So I'm for whatever we need to do in Dallas County to make the quality of life better, and in my opinion to have that — marriage equality and the registry — it makes lives better for citizens of Dallas County."

While gay marriage is as yet not recognized in Texas, currently, several jurisdictions in Texas recognize domestic partnership benefits. They include Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Dallas, and Fort Worth, as well as El Paso County, Travis County, and the Pflugerville ISD. The issue was brought to the fore nearly a month ago when Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued a non-binding, advisory opinion that political subdivisions in Texas could not recognize domestic partnerships and notably, Austin City Manager Marc Ott volleyed with a perfunctory: "[W]e do not intend to change domestic partner eligibility for our benefits program at this time."

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