AUSTIN, TX.–Texas’ ban on gay marriage was struck down by San Antonio-based federal Judge Orlando Garcia today. The judge suspended his ruling, however, meaning that the ban will remain in place until a secondary ruling by an appeals court later this year.
Federal judges have the right to suspend a law if it is believed to cause significant suffering for the plaintiffs.
The original lawsuit in Texas was filed by two gay couples: Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin; and Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano.
In his decision, Judge Garcia said the gay marriage ban has no “rational relation to a legitimate government purpose.” He continued, “One of the court’s main responsibilities is to ensure that individuals are treated equally under the law. Equal treatment of all individuals under the law is not merely an aspiration it is a constitutional mandate. Supreme Court precedent prohibits states from passing legislation born out of animosity against homosexuals, has extended constitutional protection to the moral and sexual choices of homosexuals, and prohibits the federal government from treating state-sanctioned opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages differently.”
Since Garcia’s ruling, multiple Texas politicians have spoken out in opposition to it.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Governor Rick Perry both pointed to the Tenth Amendment in their reactions. Abbot, who claims his office plans to appeal the ruling, said, “The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled over and over again that sates have the authority to define and regulate marriage. The Texas Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman.”
Governor Perry had a similar sentiment and said in a statement, “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.”
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst registered his unhappiness with the ruling as well.
“I am a longtime defender of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, which is why I led the effort to pass the Defense of Marriage Act back in 2003 and pressed for a Constitutional amendment in 2005. Once again, an activist federal judge has unilaterally attempted to undermine the will of the people of Texas who affirmed this amendment with 76% of the vote. I am insisting that the state of Texas appeal this ruling to protect our time-tested, traditional Texas values.”
Texas Values President and attorney Jonathan Saenz also spoke up in opposition to the decision, as well. He said, “This ruling by unelected federal Judge Orlando Garcia is the most egregious form of judicial activism of our generation. This hollow victory and clear attack on morality and the rule of law will not stand in Texas. This is just the beginning of an epic battle that the Texas people will ultimately win in name of the only true and lawful definition of marriage; one man, one woman.”
Garcia’s decision is the most recent in a string of wins for same-sex couples around the United States. Similar decisions were made by federal courts in Kentucky, Virginia, and Oklahoma during recent weeks.
This story has been updated since originally published.
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