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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gay Marriage OK in Texas! But Not Just Yet


As fate would have it, your Head Trucker slept through the breaking news stories yesterday.  I reckon all you boys have already heard it, but just for the record I'll summarize.

First, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed that state's antigay "Religious Freedom Restoration" bill, saying she saw no fucking reason for giving anyone a free card to deny service to gays - or anyone else, for that matter - just because "it's against my religion."



Of course, the potential loss of the Super Bowl and the objections of a hundred or so major corporations operating in Arizona just might have had a little something to do with the honorable Guv's decision, ya think?

BTW, your Head Trucker vividly recalls that fifty years ago, the preachers and politicians were all in a lather, pounding their Bibles to denounce racial integration as a sign of the last days, a scheme of the devil, and rebellion against God Almighty, which would surely and quickly cause the destruction of the family and the downfall of the country. Do watch all of this little clip from 2012:



But even more wonderful yesterday was the ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia striking down the Texas ban same-sex marriage as being unconstitutional on grounds of due process and equal protection.  He also stayed his ruling, pending appeal by Texas to the Fifth Circuit.



The map below from the Dallas Morning News shows the current situation in these United States; click here for the interactive version.

Click to enlarge.
Federal court rulings are stayed pending appeal in 
Nevada, Utah, California, Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia - and now Texas.

His Honor said, in part:
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, U.S. -, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), 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.
Thank you, Judge Garcia!

New York University law professor Ari Ezra Waldman analyzes the ruling:
Judge Garcia's decision is notable for several reasons. I will highlight two here at the outset. First, he does not dive into the heart of the level of scrutiny debate. He is content to say that marriage discrimination cannot even pass a low rational basis test. Second, he gives us a law nerd moment that students of gay rights will read for years to come to show how one case leads to the next which leads to the next and so on. Without Windsor, this case would look very different; without Lawrence, we wouldn't have gotten Windsor. And without Romer, we wouldn't have gotten Lawrence. As Judge Garcia writes:

Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution.

And how does he know that and that it applies to the notoriously marginalized LGBT community? Judge Garcia continues:

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).

Given that, the unconstitutionality of Texas's discriminatory statute seems pretty clear.

All I can say is, unfuckingbelievable. And I have lived to see this day. I just wish my husband had too.  Back when we first got together, 15 years ago, we just couldn't imagine we'd ever be able to marry in Texas or anywhere else in the world.

Full text of the ruling in De Leon v. Perry:



Update, 3/1/14:  Texas Attorney General filed notice with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on the 27th that he will appeal Judge Garcia's ruling.


2 comments:

Tim said...

Wonderful news Russ, another small step for man.

Stan said...

Marriage Equality. It will happen in Texas and everywhere in the USA. It's all a matter of time.

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