Federal judge, Orlando Garcia has ruled the Texas law banning same sex marriage unconstitutional and that the state does not have the right to refuse to recognize marriages performed in another state.
“Regulation of marriage has traditionally been the province of the states and remains so today,” Garcia wrote in his ruling. “However, any state law involving marriage or any other protected interest must comply with the United States Constitution.”
Garcia said that the two couples who brought the suit had met all the criteria necessary for a preliminary injunction, including the fact that they were likely to win their suit.
While ruling in the plaintiffs’ favor he also issued a stay which allows the bans to remain in effect pending an appeal. Attorney General Greg Abbott has vowed that he will appeal the ruling.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled over and over again that sates have the authority to define and regulate marriage,” said the presumptive GOP candidate for governor. “The Texas Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman.”
While it may be true that states have the right to regulate marriage, that’s not what the issue is here. What is at issue is the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. If the Texas Constitution is found to be in conflict with that clause, then the applicable section of the Texas Constitution is invalid.
In his ruling, Garcia wrote, “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.”
The two couples who brought the suit, Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra De Leon who had to travel to Massachusetts to get married, and Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes who have been in a committed relationship for 17 years, were thrilled to hear the judge’s decision.
Phariss and Holmes along with Dimetman and De Leon, jointly issued a written statement on Wednesday saying, “We are extremely happy — happy beyond words — with Judge Garcia’s decision. Today, Judge Garcia affirmed that the Equal Protection Clause applies to all Texans. We are delighted by that decision, and we expect that, if appealed, it will be upheld.”
“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,” Dimetman and De Leon said in the statement. “We look forward to the day when, surrounded by friends and family, we can renew our vows in our home state of Texas.”
Below is the entire text of Garcia’s ruling.
h/t: Raw Story