There has been much hand-wringing in the wake of an opinion by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott that declared same-sex benefits — offered locally by the city of Austin, Travis County and the Pflugerville school district — illegal. To be sure, the opinion is disappointing. But a closer look offers a more positive take on the opinion: It can serve as a roadmap about how such benefits can be structured so that they are legal.
In his opinion released earlier this week, Abbott stated that domestic partnerships as recognized by the local governments across Texas are close enough to the definition of marriage to violate a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions. Abbott was referring to the 2005 amendment passed by 76 percent of Texas voters that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It went further, barring the state or a political subdivision of the state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
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