Texas' Gay-Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, a Federal Judge Has Ruled

Categories: Legal Battles

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It'll still be a while before gay couples are allowed to legally allowed to marry in Texas, but they took a big step today when a federal court ruled that the state's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Orlando wrote in an opinion on Wednesday that the constitutional amendment voters passed in 2005 "den[ies] homosexual couples the right to marry, and, in doing so, demean their dignity for no legitimate reason." This violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution, the judge ruled.

Garcia granted a preliminary injunction barring the state from enforcing the law, but he also issued a stay, meaning no gay marriages until the case works its way through appeals courts.

Plaintiffs Vic Holmes and Mark Pharris of Plano and Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra De Leon of Austin were triumphant.

"We are extremely happy -- happy beyond words -- with Judge Garcia's decision," Holmes and Pharris said in a statement. "Having been together almost 17 years, we look forward to the day when we can get married and when all gay Texans enjoy equal rights to marry as well."

Dimetman and De Leon called it a "great step towards justice for our family."

"Ultimately, the repeal of Texas' ban will mean that our son will never know how this denial of equal protections demeaned our family and belittled his parents' relationship," they said. "We look forward to the day when, surrounded by friends and family, we can renew our vows in our home state of Texas."

Expect Greg Abbott's appeal to reach the 5th Circuit in 3 ... 2 ...

Update at 2:53 p.m.: Governor Rick Perry sends word that, yes, Texas will be appealing.

Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens. The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn't be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state.

Texas Same Sex Marriage Petition

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72 comments
rusknative
rusknative

@Myrna.Minkoff-KatzWHATEVER happened to those great and serious minded conservative anti-sodomy laws we had in Texas.....did we lose those when the schools got integrated and the women all burned their bras?

daviddennard
daviddennard

Oh, editor:


"It'll still be a while before gay couples are allowed to legally allowed to marry in Texas..." 

Correcting non-proofread copy in the Observer is annoying to us readers. Do your own writers even re-read their copy for errors before going to press or are we supposed to catch this stuff for you...in the FIRST line of copy, no less?

dc005
dc005

In my mature years, I’m finally beginning to understand the Bible!
The State of Washington passed two laws:

* Same-sex Marriage
* Legalized Marijuana

The fact that same-sex marriage and marijuana were legalized on the
same day makes perfect biblical sense because Leviticus 20:13 says:

"If a man lies with another man they should both be stoned."

I just hadn’t interpreted it correctly before.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

They've come a long way, baby:


September 1998 Police arrest John Lawrence and Tyron Garner in Lawrence’s private apartment and charge them with having consensual sex in violation of Texas’s “Homosexual Conduct” law.


June 2003 Victory! In landmark ruling for lesbian and gay Americans’ civil rights, U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the “Homosexual Conduct” law.


February 2014 U.S. District Judge Orlando wrote in an opinion on Wednesday that the constitutional amendment voters passed in 2005 "den[ies] homosexual couples the right to marry, and, in doing so, demean their dignity for no legitimate reason." This violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution, the judge ruled.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Rick Pervy is one of the assholes on the right who insist that a popular vote should determine which American citizens are entitled to their civil rights.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

In an ironic twist, this week a teacher who had been sexting a student was set free.  Republicans were so busy trying to criminalize homosexuality, they failed to do anything to criminalize cybersex between adults and children.

McBeese
McBeese

"Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution"


Since when did the Texas constitution trump the American constitution?  Answer = it doesn't.  No matter how bad Texans might want to oppress women and gays, or bring back slavery, our US constitution forbids it.  As Americans, we are all protected from the Texas Taliban, whether they like it or not.

McBeese
McBeese

Greg Abbott and his Republican cohorts will now have another chance to demonstrate that they are the party of hate.  


Isn't it pathetic how hypocritical the Republican party is, especially in Texas?  They profess to be the party of minimal government and minimal regulation, but it would seem that that is only true in the context of guns.  Every time I turn around, some elected Republican is pushing some intrusive legislation that limits people's rights.  

LovingPerson
LovingPerson

when i read "gay texans" i was taken back. It's almost like a joke or something, the two words don't go together. For so many years Texans have always been associated with such a concrete conservative, matter of fact way of life that it's hard to take a "gay texan" serious. They're more like a cartoon or a parlor joke. Anyways, I don't guess i had a point with this. Good day 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@daviddennard This is a free blog run by a free publication.  What the hell do you expect?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@daviddennard  Its also annoying to the commenters that you waste space pointing this out.  Is it an ego thing or are you afraid to just email them.  Its not like a fact was wrong, in which case a call out in the comments is necessary

pak152
pak152

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz if SSM is so popular then why not hold an election to overturn the law that 70% of Texas voters voted for? 

as for marriage, well it isn't a civil right it is a privilege. marriage has been defined by the state for thousands of years. 

the judge decided using the 14th amendment which covers equal status under the law.

It will be interesting to see when the first polygamous or polyamorous groups trots them selves down to the courthouse for a marriage license. or better yet the first brother and sister who wish to marry each other

rusknative
rusknative

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz WHATEVER happened to those great and serious minded conservative anti-sodomy laws we had in Texas.....did we lose those when the schools got integrated and the women all burned their bras?

daviddennard
daviddennard

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  

If the states had the overarching right to determine civil liberties and civil justice we'd still have rampant segregation on a state-by-state basis. Sometime it takes the power of the Federal Government to bend the long arc of progress in the direction of fairness and equality for all. Voters are not always right, they're just voters and they can share group prejudices that are discriminatory and unconstitutional.

rusknative
rusknative

@bvckvs Al Gore is in charge of the INTERNET since he invented it. but he is too worried about temperature to care...oh, by the way, Al is a democrat.

rusknative
rusknative

@McBeese and OBAMA is doing EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to uphold that Federal Constitution and absolutely abide by every point in it?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@McBeese  "States rights" has been, for a long time, nothing more than a code word for bigots trying to turn the clock back to the Jim Crow era.

rusknative
rusknative

@McBeese how is believing that marriage is between a man and a woman defined as hate....marriage is about love and committment.  you folks are the definition of hypocrite ...the party of loons. Harry Reid is hate personified.

dingo
dingo

@McBeese  

Couldn't you have worked the party of hate reference into the previous Texas Taliban comment? 

There isn't any one talking point per comment limit and when you string things out you come off as not just an annoying ideologue but an especially annoying ideologue.

daviddennard
daviddennard

@ScottsMerkin @daviddennard 

It's certainly not an ego thing, Scott. It's just annoying as a consumer of your otherwise fine publication. We, the readers, deserve the respect of at least a pre-publication proof-read from you before you hit "send" don't you think? Otherwise, you look like a bunch of hacks and it slowly invalidates your information, suggesting that you probably also do a sloppy job of researching and reporting too. Get it?

plainsman1
plainsman1

@pak152 - Human rights aren't up to votes. Get used to a Constitution applied equally.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@PlanoDave  I know of no Prop votes that the Democrats have used to deny American citizens their civil rights.

plainsman1
plainsman1

@rusknative - Yeah, because "W" paid so much attention to the Constitutionality of his actions.

rusknative
rusknative

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @McBeese I am getting to think seriously about the benefits of the Jim Crow era....maybe the internet needs some Jim Crow legislation to get the liberal ranting loons off the web and actually doing some work.

McBeese
McBeese

@rusknative @McBeese  Willfully denying two consenting adults –  regardless of gender, race, or religion – the right to the same love and commitment you refer to (and legal benefits) because it doesn't fit your model of marriage is bigoted and hurtful.  


You are welcome to carry on with your beliefs and bigotry within the context of your church.  No religious leader will be forced to perform a marriage he doesn't believe in.  Our constitution guarantees that.  Our constitution also protects us from religious zealots like you who wish to impose your religious views on the rest of us.  Keep your religion within the walls of your church community and we'll all be fine, ok?


Texas clearly wants to impose a christian perspective into state legislation, persecuting both women and gays.  Perry and Abbott may try, but ultimately the Supreme Court will overrule them.  It's inevitable.  

daviddennard
daviddennard

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @daviddennard  

You should shoot so high.

Frankly, Robert Wilonsky did a fine job of both reporting and writing while he held this same position at The Observer. Is that too "high" a benchmark for his successor?

I'm just a reader. I enjoy The Observer. Is it too much to ask as "weekly" publication to proof its copy before publication? No, of course not. Your high school English teacher would say the same thing.

And, I don't appreciate snarky responses for simply pointing this out.

 

manpanties
manpanties

@PlanoDave I love a good stretch.  nicely done.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz So "Freedom of Choice" only applies to abortions, then?  Obamacare compels action which individuals otherwise would not have chosen.  This is evidenced by the very low enrollment of the uninsured into Obamacare (less than 20% by the last report).

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@dingo @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @LovingPerson

 I'm pretty sure LovingPerson is dead serious, judging by their other commentary, here.

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