Texas Becomes Sixth State to Strike down Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Saturday, March 01, 2014
(graphic: Fry1989, Wikipedia)

Religious conservatives opposed to same-sex marriage lost another court battle when a federal judge in Texas invalidated that state’s numerous bans on homosexuals getting married.


U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia said Texas had established “state-imposed inequality” by denying gays and lesbians the right to marry through three separate laws adopted in 1997, 2003 and 2005.


“These Texas laws deny Plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges and responsibilities,” Garcia wrote in his ruling, “for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex.”


Garcia immediately stayed his own ruling, pending an appeal by the state’s attorney general to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.


The judge’s rationale for striking down the bans was similar to those employed by other judges who have recently tossed anti-gay-marriage statutes in Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia. All those rulings followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2013 to toss the section of the Defense of Marriage Act (pdf) that prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages.


The legal fight over these six states’ law is far from over. In addition to Texas appealing its case, officials in the other states have petitioned their rulings to other appellate courts (the Fourth, Sixth and Tenth circuits).


The turnaround from outlawing gay marriage to allowing it has been dramatic within a short time.  Only three years ago there were just five states that allowed same-sex marriage. Now, homosexual couples in 17 states can tie the knot.


There are currently 47 lawsuits underway that are challenging same-sex marriage bans in 25 states.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Judge Strikes Down Tex. Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Paving Way for Shift in Conservative State (by David A. Fahrenthold and Niraj Chokshi, Washington Post)

Federal Judge's Ruling on Texas Gay Marriage Ban (U.S. District Court for Western District of Texas)

Why 6 Federal Judges Struck Down State Gay Marriage Bans, In Their Own Words (by Niraj Chokshi, Washington Post)

“Core Civil Rights at Stake” for Judge Who Struck down Virginia’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Another Rough Day for Utah’s Marriage Laws: First Polygamy, Now Same-Sex (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


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