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more votes among highly conservative Republican primary voters. Given the current GOP domination of statewide races, winning the Republican primary would sweep Staples into office. “The [gay marriage] issue was used by legislators to promote themselves politically,” Ellis says. Staples has denied that he sponsored the measure for political reasons. In a statement, Staples told the Observer, “Most Texans realize it is necessary to amend our state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman… This is an important policy issue for our state, and I am honored to have carried and passed the amendment in the Senate.” Yet HJR 6 nearly died in the Senate. Democrats, at one point, had the 11 votes necessary to procedurally block HJR 6. The day before the vote, however, Sen. Frank Madla \(DDemocrats lacked the 11 votes needed to prevent HJR 6 from reaching the Senate floor. Madla was one of three ing for the amendment. When asked why he switched sides, Madla said he simply voted with his district. “I don’t think it belongs in the constitution, but that’s a decision for the people of Texas to make now,” he said. “When it comes down to it, our legislators are afraid to do what they know is right,” Ellis says. One bittersweet accomplishment for social conservative groups was the passage of a parental consent abortion measure. Current law mandates that young girls must notify their parents before getting an abortion. Toughening the law to require parental consent was a top priority for social conservatives this session. Lawmakers introduced 13 bills this session that would have restricted abortion-10 in the House and three in the Senate. Yet the only House bill that even reached the floor was House Bill 1212. Democrats, using administrative rules, scuttled that measure and its Senate companion SB 1150, on the House floor. With the death of both parental consent bills, Republican House members had to latch onto a rather strange vehicle in a last-minute effort to pass very limited parental consent language. They attached a parental consent amendment to a bill re-authorizing the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners. The amendment makes it a medical license violation for a doctor to perform an abortion on a minor without obtaining attached another amendment prohibiting doctors from performing abortions on women who have carried a child more continued on page 20 Courtesy of the Texas Housc Photography Department JUNE 24, 2005 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15