Pro-LGBT Birth Certificate Bill Approved by House Committee

A pro-LGBT bill that appeared dead three weeks ago is still clinging to life after clearing a House committee Monday.

House Bill 537, by Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), would allow same-sex parents to have both names on the birth certificates of adopted children.

The bill received surprising GOP support from Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), chair of the House Committee on State Affairs, during a hearing in March. But it still lacked the votes to clear the committee, prompting Anchia to make an impassioned speech in support of the measure on the House floor April 15.

“Regardless of how you feel about a kid’s parents, you’re always good to the kid,” Anchia said. “They didn’t pick their parents, but those are the parents they have, and you know, those are the parents they love, and they deserve accurate birth certificates. We can do better than this. Texas is better than this.”

On Monday, the committee quietly voted 7-4 to advance HB 537, with Cook and Rep. Patricia Harless (R-Spring) joining five Democrats who voted in favor of the bill. Four Republicans voted against it, while two others were absent.

“This is a simple, common-sense bill that helps children,” Equality Texas legislative specialist Daniel Williams said. “It shouldn’t surprise anyone that it passed with bipartisan support.

“At this point it will be a challenge to get the bill to the House floor before the deadline next week, but it’s still a realistic possibility,” he added.

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John Wright is a freelance journalist based in Austin. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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