In Court, Texas Says It Bans Gay Marriage to "Promote Responsible Procreation"

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U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia didn't hand down any ruling Wednesday following a hearing on two Texas couples' lawsuit challenging Texas' gay-marriage ban. A decision, on whether to grant the couples' request for a preliminary injunction blocking Texas' constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex unions, "will be forthcoming at some time," he said.

Not that it will settle anything. The lawsuit -- or one of the similar challenges filed in other states -- will eventually wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court. As he noted in court, "Ultimately, a group of five people will decide this case, and I'm not one of those five," Garcia said.

The hearing, though, did give lawyers for both sides the chance to publicly make their case. The couples -- Plano's Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss and Austin's Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman -- base their argument on the 14th Amendment, saying a gay-marriage ban violates their right to equal protection under the law.

See also: Gay Plano Couple Sues to Overturn Texas' Gay Marriage Ban

Texas, represented by Assistant Texas Solicitor General Mike Murphy, countered that the state has a legitimate interest in preserving the "traditional definition of marriage," calling the same-sex kind, which became law in Massachusetts in 2004, "a more recent innovation than Facebook."

And why does Texas have such a compelling interest in defining marriage as between a man and a woman?

Because children.

"The purpose of Texas marriage law is not to discriminate against same-sex couples but to promote responsible procreation," Murphy said, according to The Dallas Morning News. Kids, he argued, fare better when they're raised by heterosexual couples.

But the bulk of social science research on the topic suggests otherwise. In a 2010 brief filed in a gay-marriage case in California, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy wrote that claims the straight people make better parents or that children of gay couples fare worse "find no support in the scientific research literature."

See also: Gay Marriage Won't Undermine the Texas Constitution; its 483 Amendments Did That

Indeed, the scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterosexual parents has been consistent in showing that lesbian and gay parents are as fit and capable as heterosexual parents, and their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents. Empirical research over the past two decades has failed to find any meaningful differences in the parenting ability of lesbian and gay parents compared to heterosexual parents.

Murphy didn't provide any compelling arguments that undercut the scientific consensus. Nor did he offer a good explanation for why, if the state's interest in promoting "responsible procreation" is so strong, the elderly and infertile are allowed to wed.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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47 comments
treetopguy
treetopguy

Marriage between a man and woman equals "responsible procreation"?  Really?  How about all those unplanned, unwanted pregnancies out there that result in the resulting child having a hell of a childhood being "raised" by unfit parents?  I obtained a marriage license one time.  It was shockingly EASIER than getting a driver's license.  The driver's license required passing a written exam, demonstrating driving skills, and having certain physical abilities (pass a vision test).  Getting married required NOTHING short of signatures and a fee.  That qualifies two people to "responsible procreate"????  Uh, and what about people who marry after the woman has passed menopause -- not much procreating (responsible or irresponsible) gonna happen.  And if a married couple decides to never have children, shouldn't their marriage license be revoked for failure to procreate responsibly????  If marriage is such a noble institution, why do so man of them end in divorce?  The male couple in this lawsuit has been together 17 YEARS!  That is much longer than many of the heterosexual marriages that I know of have lasted. 

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

While this "responsible procreation" angle is guffaw-worthy, keep in mind that Texas, as embarrassing as it may be, is only one of 33 states with bans, only 17 states permit. It's not quite the sore-thumb of states some suggest.

Give it time, they'll come around sooner or later - or President Obama will make federal law legalizing it.

Americano
Americano

This wasn't a Texas Judge or the Governor, this was a US District Court Judge.  Don't like the ruling?  Take it up with them.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

Survey says!? Nope. 

Who really cares about who marries who?  Seriously, I couldn't give two s#!ts if some dude wants to marry another dude or if some chick wants to hoe-down with another sister.  Let them marry and divorce like the rest of us.  

dingo
dingo

I don't know Cleopatra De Leon, but I do know that Cleopatra Jones is ten miles of bad road.

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

When I moved to Texas in 1994, George W was a moderate governor heading a forward-thinking state that at least appeared dedicated to leading this great state to be a leader of the 21st century.  People here really seemed well-educated and in general having it together.


In less than 20 years we have turned into a state full of morons.  What the Hell happened?

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

So the new Texas marriage license application has a section to be completed that states when and where the newlyweds will be consummating their nuptials in order for the State Procreation Responsibility Officer to observe and report? Is this to be a weekly thing? Maybe with the new wifi couples can hook up a webcam in their boudoirs and beam all this activity to Perry's computer? If a guy can't get it up, does he have to divorce? What about premature ejaculation? Can you use a turkey baster and suck those little sperms up and shoot'em back up the twat towards that little heterosexual egg? And does this make jacking off illegal? It wouldn't be very responsible to go shooting your shit all over the bathroom mirror instead of inviting the stork to drop off a little baby in the cabbage patch.

Maybe the churches will step in and have Group Sex Sunday Sermons. All the happily married people will take turns fucking in front of the congregation. 

I wonder, if you enjoy it, does it count?

markzero
markzero

I don't get it, do they think gay people will be irresponsibly procreating?


Also, if they're seriously implying that marriage exists in order to have kids, why aren't they banning childless hetero couples?

JackJett
JackJett

Heterosexual men who are comfortable with their own sexuality could give a shit less about gay marriage or gay relationships.   This is a simple fact of life.   Now while some attempt to use some religious BS as a shield, we all now know that you can't pray away the gay THOUGHTS anymore than you can pray away the gay.


And to those who are still ...somehow of the belief that people would choose to be gay...I would ask at what age did YOU decide to BE straight?   Tell me about the point in YOUR life where you sit down and made the decision...Am I going to have sex life with men, or a sex life with women?    How did you come to that decision?   And if you DID indeed make that decision, wouldn't that mean you considered being gay, that you FELT an attraction towards men but MADE THE DECISION to go the vaginal route? 


Sadly homophobic closet cases are the ones that do NOT practice safe sex as they are so into quick anonymous sex they fail to use protection.  


ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

We can probably expect Wendy Davis to come out in favor of this by next Monday.

lebowski300
lebowski300

By the same inane logic, shouldn't the State of Texas make divorce constitutionally illegal?

lakewoodhobo
lakewoodhobo

Funny. You know what other government promotes "responsible procreation"? The People's Republic of China.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Fast-forward a decade, when any church that opposes gay marriage on religious grounds is declared equivalent to groups opposing inter-racial marriage, making the Catholic Church an official "hate group", as defined by the government and SPLC.

That's it for Catholics in government, or judgeships, etc., the Pope will be as welcome as a Grand Wizard at an NAACP barbecue.

However, this may create a problem for the Latino community which is primarily affiliated with the Catholic Church. Maybe, as in immigration law, they'll get a race/origin-based exception denied Italians or other Catholic-centric groups.

Regardless, we'd be one step closer to the opium-free progressive society the founders envisioned.

NewsDog
NewsDog

Responsible procreation... in Texas...

Who is he kidding. Texas has one of the higest teenage, unwed mother birthrates in the country and the higest rate of teenage unwed mothers giving birth to a second child.  

I guess all that money spent on abstinence only education has really paid off.  

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

Its funny, I feel like in current times "responsible procreation" would really be everything the GOP are against, a larger govt, because now responsible procreation really falls under - how much money do you have in your bank account, passing a simple IQ test, passing a drug test, proof of dwelling etc etc and who would monitor that - the govt. So I have a deal for them, stay out of marriage, stay out of abortions and focus on people and jobs - you know - "life" the people that are living, that you actually fight so hard for when they are not quite breathing.

jmckee3
jmckee3

That is weird because Texas has one of the highest rates of unplanned pregnancies in the US while unplanned pregnancies among gay couples which do have children, yes, even in Texas, sometimes even biological children, tend to be very rare.


If the best you can do is make an argument that is factually incorrect stop wasting our money fighting the inevitable.


The interesting thing that Texas doesn't seem to understand is that if they are really opposed to gay marriage spreading the worst thing they can do is fight this and win in the 5th circuit. The SCOTUS has all but telegraphed that they are going to strike down same sex marriage bans but want it to stew in the courts some more, the 9th circuit is siding with marriage equality and the SCOTUS is likely more than happy to not hear an appeal in the 9th, the same with the 5th but if the 5th rules against marriage equality the SCOTUS is basically going to be forced to step in and legalize it nationwide instead of just letting it play out through the courts over time. Basically at this point the fastest way marriage equality is going to happen is if the anti-gay people win a circuit case, best case scenario for the bigots is to lose in Texas and not appeal as it would contain the decision to Texas and not the US or 5th circuit for longer. 

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

With some communities enjoying a 75%-plus single-parent household, you gotta wonder why Texas would worry about communities that balance it out with a two-parent/zero child household.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Embarassing. Essentially a flat Earth Society argument.

lakewoodhobo
lakewoodhobo

There's nothing worse than a hypocrite. Are you for more or less government? Do you want the government managing your procreation now?

matt.helm75
matt.helm75

you know...because it's all about the kids...except when it comes to educating them or providing them healthcare.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

So this Murphy is representing Texas?  Texans should be very embarrassed. 

treetopguy
treetopguy

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz You find this tired stereotyping "hilarious"?  Really?  If so, then you will probably wet your pants screaming with laughter at minstrel shows and whites-in-blackface clips on Youtube.  Yeah, I'm sort of liberal but not gay and not a hag (but some of my best friends are). 

manpanties
manpanties

@CitzenKim  ...at least appeared...says it all.  gdub was a turd in a slightly nicer awshucks wrapper.

Daniel
Daniel

@lebowski300  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: What about buttfucking your lawfully wedded wife? It appears that Jesus isn't volunteering this information to Republican lawmakers, and they're apparently too shy to ask. 

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

But China is visionary enough to have instituted forced abortion, making them much more progressive than most of the west

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski

your crystal ball seems to have become rather cloudy.

there are laws regarding discrimination based on sex, yet can you point to an Orthodox Synagague being forced to allow women to join men in prayer, rather than the women being segregated? no?

the same will apply...your prediction is just not viable.

lebowski300
lebowski300

@ruddski  The Catholic Church is a cult. Good riddance. Can I hit the fast forward button?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@NewsDog   Murphy says: "Responsible procreation.";  Murphy thinks: "I hate homosexuals."

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Feel the burn.

NewsDog
NewsDog

@Daniel @lebowski300   Daniel, that too was a crime in Texas for years. The Texas Sodomy statute was gender, relationship, hetero/homo neutral. Any act of sodomy by any person was a crime.

Even though it was deemed unconstitutional by SCOTUS it is still on the books. 

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Not viable, ok, glad to hear. It's good to know that hate groups will still be welcome at the public table.

How about my prediction that agents of the state will investigate news providers to ascertain how those providers decide what news to feature, if the providers feature information the state deems critical, such as environmental news, economic news, or what have you, along with investigation of news coverage philosophy, and whether there is bias as perceived by the state in that philosophy/coverage.

Think that could ever happen in a semi-Constitutional republic?

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Or black people

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Direct. Ok.

How many judges or elected officials do you think are members of any group that openly opposes interracial marriage? Gay rights are the new civil rights movement, why shouldn't the same process apply as time goes on?

As for press freedom, seen the latest from Reporters Without Borders?

Are you familiar with the FCC's "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs"?

Granted, we are presently governed by a transparent, forthright and honest Progressive administration, so this is all entirely innocent, but what happens if by chance a republican gets in the WH?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski

It's good to know that hate groups will still be welcome at the public table.

whaat??? "hate groups" and "the public table"??? what the heck are you drinking? whatever it is, it's some strong stuff.

As for the long winded example of "agents of the state", there is a history of the fourth estate freedom to publish that as far as I'm aware is still intact.

are you trying to make some kind of point? please be a bit more direct....

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@lebowski300 @ScottsMerkin  personally Id rather be an alcoholic Catholic  as opposed to a gay hating sober southern baptist

lebowski300
lebowski300

@ScottsMerkin Perhaps. But let's be prudent and start off with the worst taking the medicine it richly deserves. I'd never framed it as well as good rudd, "an official hate group". Sounds about right.

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