Texas Marriage Ban Struck Down


Another day, another state ban on same-sex marriage struck down by a federal judge. This time it’s Texas, where Judge Orlando Garcia issued a preliminary injunction finding the law violates the Equal Protection Clause, following closely the logic of the Supreme Court’s Windsor ruling.

Regulation of marriage has traditionally been the province of the states and remains so today. However, any state law involving marriage or any other protected interest must comply with the United States Constitution. In United States v. Windsor, the United States Supreme Court recently held that the federal government cannot refuse to recognize a valid state-sanctioned same-sex marriage. Now, the lower courts must apply the Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor and decide whether a state can do what the federal government cannot discriminate against same-sex couples.

The issue before this Court is whether Texas’ current definition of marriage is permissible under the United States Constitution. After careful consideration, and applying the law as it must, this Court holds that Texas’ prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process. Texas’ current marriage laws deny homosexual couples the right to marry, and in doing so, demean their dignity for no legitimate reason. Accordingly, the Court finds these laws are unconstitutional and hereby grants a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendants from enforcing Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage…

Today’s Court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the United States Constitution and Supreme Court precedent. Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution. Furthermore, Supreme Court precedent prohibits states from passing legislation born out of animosity against homosexuals (Romer), has extended constitutional protection to the moral and sexual choices of homosexuals (Lawrence), and prohibits the federal government from treating state-sanctioned opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages differently (Windsor).

Let’s fill the Gulf of Mexico with the tears of the Christian right and go surfing. The judge did issue a stay of his order to allow for an appeal and with several federal courts overturning state laws over the last few months, the Supreme Court will almost certainly have to hear one of those cases, probably in 2015. The $25,000 question is whether Justice Kennedy is ready to go all the way with the reasoning of his own ruling in Windsor, which he wasn’t willing to do a year ago. You can read the full ruling here.

Comments

  1. gshelley says

    The more state judges and AGs agree with this, I think the more likely Kennedy is to accept the logic of his own ruling. WE are seeing case after case, where the ruling is specifically based on his DOMA ruling, and though IANAL, they all seem logical

  2. says

    The $25,000 question is whether Justice Kennedy is ready to go all the way with the reasoning of his own ruling in Windsor, which he wasn’t willing to do a year ago.
    Then the $50,000 question is whether Ginsberg will have fed on the souls of Christian babies to maintain her immortality and remain on the court.

  3. whheydt says

    The followup data I trying to untangle is that the Texas AG has asked for an *expedited* appeal.

    Why?

    I suppose it might be because (apparently) the 5th Circuit is very conservative and he thinks they’ll go his way. It might be because he’s running for Governor and thinks that a fast appeal will aid his run. Perhaps he’s hoping that with a fast briefing schedule the original plaintiffs won’t be able to show that he has no real case. On the other hand, it might just get Texas an appellate court slap down all the sooner.

  4. dshetty says

    which he wasn’t willing to do a year ago.
    He probably wont have much choice if he cares about his place in history.

  5. John Pieret says

    I still suspect that not only will Kennedy bite the bullit after the wave of lower court decisions affirming his reasoning but he may be joined by Roberts, who is reportedly very concerned about “his” court’s place in history and probably doesn’t want his name mentioned in the same breath as Roger Taney and Dred Scott.

  6. leonardschneider says

    Okay, that explains the yelling and cursing I heard coming from the east this morning… And I’m in California. Wouldn’t really expect conservative Christians to use phrases like “dawg-fuckin’ federal assholes,” but there you go.

  7. D. C. Sessions says

    Then the $50,000 question is whether Ginsberg will have fed on the souls of Christian babies to maintain her immortality and remain on the court.

    Eventually she’ll leave the Court, feet first or otherwise. And if a Republican appoints her replacement (or, assuming she lives to 120, one of the others. Like, say, Kennedy’s) it’s a sure bet that they’ll pull the Court’s Overton Window to the right.

    Don’t bet on any ruling by the current Court survive a challenge from the Right after that. Overturning recent rulings may be modestly embarrassing, but this Court will do what it has to do. The whole point of “originalism” is that it appeals to a higher authority than stare decisis.

  8. otrame says

    Abbott is still ahead in the polls, but I think we may be able to turn Texas purple this year. The big thing will be to get people to the polls.

    On that issue, I, along with many many other women, have a problem. My drivers license and passport have my first and middle names and my married name, but the way the voter registration form in Texas goes, my voter “name” is my first name, my birth last name, and my married name. Which means, depending on how much of a Republican the poll worker at my precinct is, I may have to sign an affidavit that I am indeed the same person that is listed on the voter registration lists, even though my IDs say something different. The rule is “If the name is substantially the same” but it is left up to the poll worker. And I am not sure if, on signing such a affidavit, my vote still gets counted automatically, or if it has to be “processed” and if the latter, I would not put it past someone to quietly lose it.

    I love Texas. I always have. But sometimes…..

  9. chilidog99 says

    Since the Windsor case last year, eighteen courts across the country have ruled on gay rights cases. The gays have won every one.

  10. fmitchell says

    At least some people here in Texas are trying to make this a “state’s rights” issue. Didn’t we hash that out about, oh, 150 years ago?

    In nearly all the political ads I’ve endured this month, politicians keep saying they support “the Constitution”. I’m pretty sure they mean the Texas Constitution, the one that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. And also, IIRC, still requires all holders of political office to believe in God.

  11. magistramarla says

    Otrame,
    All of my ID shows my first, middle and married last name. No one has asked for my birth last name in many, many years. Texas sent me a voter’s card that exactly matches my driver’s license and my military ID.
    I voted last week, and there was no question at all.

  12. says

    Today’s Court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature

    What about the not-so-great people of Texas? Is it in defiance of them? I hope so.

  13. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Wouldn’t really expect conservative Christians to use phrases like “dawg-fuckin’ federal assholes,” but there you go.

    “Whah cayn’t them fejrals fuck sheep an’ cows lahk normul Murkans?!”

  14. dingojack says

    Counting? Pfft, pointy-headed elitist stuff*.
    ;) Dingo
    ———–
    * Bear in mind we’re talking about folks edumakated. in Texas.

Leave a Reply