Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Texas ban on marriage equality ruled unconstitutional


This gives the anti-gay forces a record of 0-5 in federal courts.

“Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” Judge Orlando Garcia, a Clinton appointee, wrote. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.”

From the San Antonio Express-News:
A federal judge in San Antonio has declared Texas' ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, however, also issued a stay, meaning the ban stays in effect for the time being.

One lesbian couple had to go to Massachusetts to get married, and they want Texas to recognize the union. A second gay couple have a courtship of 17 years and want to get married here in their home state.

Both sued the state in federal court aiming to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage, saying it is unconstitutional.


LGBT Advocates immediately issued statements on the ruling:

Freedom To Marry

"Today the 6th federal judge in a row has ruled – in Texas – that there is simply no legitimate justification for denying marriage to loving gay and lesbian couples. The court's holding is solid and serious, and follows the language and logic of the Supreme Court's marriage ruling last year and the Constitution's clear command. With 47 marriage cases in 25 states now moving forward, and the possibility that a freedom to marry case will again reach the Supreme Court as soon as 2015, we must continue the conversations and progress -- Texan to Texan, American to American -- that show that all of America is ready for the freedom to marry."

Human Rights Campaign

This injunction sends a powerful message that gay and lesbian Texans are being harmed every by inequality, and that these plaintiff couples who we're proud to call members of the HRC family are very likely to succeed in striking down Texas' ban on marriage equality. This is a historic day in the heart of the South, and I can't stress enough how important it is to move quickly until loving couples in all 50 states feel the full reach of this victory for equality." The Texas ruling comes on the heels of a year-long string of electoral, judicial and legislative victories for marriage equality. Recently the New Mexico Supreme Court and federal district judges in Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio and Kentucky have ruled in favor of marriage for lesbian and gay couples.

Equality Texas

Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas, called the decision “a huge victory that moves Texas one step closer to the freedom to marry.” “The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Windsor made it clear that animus or moral disapproval is not an acceptable justification for denying any American their constitutional right to equal protection of the law,” Smith said. “We are gratified to see Judge Garcia uphold the Constitution of the United States and declare that Texas’ restrictions on the freedom to marry are unconstitutional and unenforceable. We anxiously await the day when the United States Supreme Court will reach the same conclusion.”

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