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Texas May Add Legal Protection For Gay Teens

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AUSTIN (AP) - Sexually active gay teens in Texas would get new legal protections under two bills scheduled to be considered Tuesday by state lawmakers.

Texas laws governing crimes of indecency with a child cover sexual contact with minors under the age of 17. They include a “Romeo and Juliet” legal defense if the couple is older than 14, in a consensual relationship and within three years of each other.

But the law also says the couple must be of the “opposite sex.”

House and Senate committees have scheduled hearings on bills that would remove that designation and give gay teens the same protection as heterosexuals. The Senate sponsor says its chances of becoming law are uncertain.

Gay rights advocates call the distinction in the current law unfair and discriminatory.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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