Federal Judge Rules Texas Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional
On Wednesday, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the Texas gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. Approved by voters in 2005, the same-sex marriage ban was added as a provision to the Texas Constitution, Article 1, Section 32, which provides that “Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.”
Judge Orlando Garcia ruled the provision had no “rational relationship to a legitimate government purpose.” Garcia also noted that the provision violated the Equal Protection clause under the US Constitution: “Equal protection is at the heart of our legal system and is essential for the existence of a free society.” He further stated that, “These Texas laws deny plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex.”
What does this mean for Texas?
US District Judge Orlando Garcia has filed a preliminary injunction after two gay couples challenged the law and the span of their Constitutional rights. The ban will remain in effect for now, awaiting appeal. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has promised to appeal the decision.
San Antonio, Texas is located in the very conservative 5th Circuit of the state, and this case was the first time a court in this circuit has reached this sort of decision. This ruling is the newest in a string of similar decisions seen in Oklahoma, Utah, and Virginia. Lawsuits like these from across the country are expected to end up in the Supreme Court next year.
“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. Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution,” Garcia wrote.
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