State Sen. Wants AG Opinion on Same-Sex Benefits

AUSTIN, Texas - One of Texas' most-conservative state senators has asked for an attorney general's opinion on whether local governments can grant marriage benefits to same-sex partners.

Tea party-backed Sen. Dan Patrick says Texas amended its state Constitution in 2005 to define marriage as between one man and one woman, while prohibiting government entities from recognizing anything similar to marriage.

The Houston Republican on Friday asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to clarify the issue. He noted that the cities of El Paso, Austin and Forth Worth have extended some benefits to domestic partners.

Patrick is the new chairman of the Senate Education Committee and said in a statement that Pflugerville Independent School District has recently become the first Texas school district to similarly extend benefits.