Texas gay marriage ban latest to be struck down

2014-02-27 12:36

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Austin - A federal judge declared a same-sex marriage ban in deeply conservative Texas unconstitutional Wednesday, the latest in a series of victories for gay rights activists who are challenging bans in dozens of states around the US.

The Texas ruling will allow the second-most populous US state to continue enforcing the ban pending an appeal that will likely go to the US Supreme Court, where a tangled web of lawsuits is expected to end up next year.

It follows similar recent decisions in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, as proponents of same-sex marriage have been emboldened by last year's landmark Supreme Court ruling that said legally married gay couples could not be denied federal benefits.

Judge Orlando Garcia issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday after two gay couples challenged a Texas constitutional amendment and a longstanding law.

"Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution," Garcia wrote. "These Texas laws deny plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex."

Garcia said the couples are likely to win their case and the ban should be lifted, but said he would not enforce his ruling pending one by a court of appeals, which already is hearing two other states' cases. He also will give Texas time to appeal to a federal appeals court.

Garcia, appointed by president Bill Clinton, is the first judge in his conservative New Orleans-based court to reach such a decision. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who also is the leading Republican candidate to succeed Gov. Rick Perry, promised to appeal the decision.

Todd Staples, a candidate for lieutenant governor who drafted the Texas constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, denounced the court's decision.

Extraordinary measures

"I am disappointed that judicial activism is once again trying to trump the will of the people. This ruling is the poster child of the culture war occurring in America today," he said.

At least 17 states, mostly in the Northeast, and the Washington capital district now allow marriage of same-sex couples.

The Supreme Court, in its decision last June, declined to rule on the merits of a voter-approved California law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

 The effect of the decision was to allow same-sex unions to resume in California, but the high court said nothing about the right to marry. It did order the federal government to recognise valid same-sex marriages by striking down the part of the Clinton-era Defence of Marriage Act that denied same-sex married couples the federal benefits and rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

Every judge who has decided a same-sex marriage case since last year's Supreme Court ruling has come down on the side of gay marriage and has drawn heavily on the high court's opinions.

That has left opponents of gay marriage scrambling, and some have called for extraordinary measures in response.

A bill recently introduced in Congress by conservative Republicans titled the State Marriage Defense Act would require the federal government to respect each state's determinations of its residents' marital status when applying federal law. It has no chance of passage in the Democratic-led Senate.

Heavy-handed actions

In Missouri, where voters approved a gay-marriage ban in 2004, Republican legislators filed articles of impeachment against Democratic Govenor Jay Nixon after he ordered his administration to accept joint tax returns from same-sex couples who were legally married in other states.

Bills are making their way through several state legislatures, some intended to protect gay-marriage bans, others to protect individuals or businesses who, for religious reasons, don't want to serve same-sex couples.

The first such bill to be passed by a state legislature is Arizona's, which is being weighed by Governor Jan Brewer. Business groups, gay rights supporters and even fellow Republicans urged her to use her veto power, and there is widespread speculation that she will, but she has not said how she'll act.

The legislation allows any business, church or person to cite the law as a defence in any action brought by the government or individual claiming discrimination.

Proponents frequently cite the case of a photographer in neighbouring New Mexico who was sued after refusing to take wedding pictures of a gay couple and say Arizona needs a law to protect people from heavy-handed actions by federal courts.

- AP
Read more on:    us  |  gay rights
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Beauty

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Junior Retoucher

Cape Town
Datafin Recruitment

QR2346 Retail Planner

Western Cape
Quantum Recruitment

Stock / Financial Controller

George - Knysna
Alfa & Omega Networked Business Solutions (PTY)Ltd
R8 000 - R10 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The virtual world can be very tempting to escape into but focus on also being present and keeping your feet anchored in reality....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.