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Beyond City Limits

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio (whose district includes much of South Austin), has added to a growing pile of anti-gay bills at the Legislature by filing SB 630, the Texas Defense of Marriage Act, which would prohibit same-sex marriages. The state already bans such unions, but Wentworth and 20 Senate co-sponsors (all of the chamber's Republicans plus two Democrats) say SB 630 will add more teeth to existing law. The TX-DOMA is also seen as Wentworth's attempt to prove his right-wing, pro-family mettle; he has been seen as unacceptably moderate on social issues by party activists and came under brutal attack in last year's GOP primary. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on State Affairs, one of whose Democratic members, Sen. Kenneth Armbrister of Victoria (whose district includes Bastrop and Caldwell counties), has also endorsed it. In the House, Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, filed a similar bill earlier in the session, as he has every session for a decade. His HB 38 boasts nearly 40 co-signers. The Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby of Texas will hold a rally to address these and other bills beginning at 12:30pm Sunday on the steps of the Capitol. Check for more info. -- A.S.

Today (Thursday) the Texas House's Committee on Defense Affairs and State-Federal Relations will hold public hearings on a resolution for the state of Texas to support the war and all related policies, as well as a resolution to support national missile defense. HR 68, authored by Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, asks Congress to support building a national missile defense system (aka "Star Wars") "as rapidly as possible." And HR 75, proposed by Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, memorializes Congress to support the Bush administration's war on terrorism, homeland security, and disarmament action against Iraq. Thursday's hearing begins at 8am in room E2.010 of the Capitol Extension. Another bill expected to come up soon in committee: HR 479, sponsored by Bob Hunter, R-Abilene, which calls for draft registration to be "mandatory and automatic" for all men between the ages of 18 and 25 receiving driver licenses. -- L.A.

Local anti-nuke activist Tristan Mendoza has just launched Texas Radiation Online (, a Web site examining Texas nuclear-power issues including uranium mining and radioactive waste disposal. The site also includes basic things to know about radiation, reference resources, and more. Over the next few months, the site will also feature regular coverage of the 78th Legislature; Senate Bill 824, co-sponsored by Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo, and Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, would allow companies to dump millions of cubic feet of low-level radioactive waste at an undetermined location in Texas. -- L.A.

Leadership Texas/Foundation for Women's Resources is compiling a list of Texas women's organizations. If you have an addition to this list, send the names of the organization and its present chair, its telephone number, and an e-mail contact address to Lisa Barsumian at -- L.A.

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