A Texas federal judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban on Wednesday, February 26, due to its violation of the US Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
US District Judge Orlando L. Garcia issued a preliminary injunction on the state’s ban.
However, Garcia applied a stay on his ruling, pending the outcome of any appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“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 laws as it must, the Court holds that Texas’ prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process,” Garcia wrote in his 48-page decision.
“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’ bans on same-sex marriage.”
The ruling came just two weeks after two same-sex couples pleaded with the court for Texas not to ban same-sex marriage.
In a press release following the ruling, one of the two couples in the case, Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra De Leon, said “We are thrilled with the ruling and remain hopeful that this matter will continue to move quickly through the courts. 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. We look forward to the day when, surrounded by friends and family, we can renew our vows in our home state of Texas.”
However, Governor Rick Perry, alongside state Attorney General Greg Abbott, has vowed to continue to defend the ban.
Due to Garcia’s decision to stay the ruling from taking effect until it can be reviewed on appeal, Abbott, who is running for governor, is almost certain to appeal.
Currently, Texas officials remain predominantly opposed to same-sex marriage. All four Republicans in GOP primary for lieutenant governor, as well as three GOP candidates racing to succeed Abbot as attorney general, strongly oppose marriage equality.