Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Texas same-sex marriage ban overruled by federal judge

On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, a federal judgeoverruled the Texas ban of same-sex marriages, deeming it unconstitutional. Orlando Garcia, a Republican federal judge, argued that the prohibition violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which protects a plaintiff's due process and equal protection(Walters, 2014). The ruling was challenged by Attorney General Greg Abbott. His fellow defendant, Governor Rick Perry, insisted on the traditional Christian conception of marriage, consisting of union between a man and a woman, as affirmed in the Constitution of Texas, according to which 76 percent of Texans voted in favor of defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman(Walters, 2014). A great deal of the controversy surrounds the definition of marriage, as codified in the constitution of Texas:
In both federal and state court, activists are seeking to increase legal protections for gay and lesbian Texans by challenging the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and by pushing the state to recognize gay marriages granted in other states, including in instances of divorce. Opponents of gay marriage, meanwhile, are defending the state's constitutional ban and challenging the city of Houston's recent expansion of partner benefits to cover same-sex spouses of city employees. Challenges to Texas gay rights' laws come amid a national effort by activists to end restrictions on their ability to marry. And a win in Texas would be a major coup for either side of the debate(Walters, 2014).
The decision comes on the heels of other federal rulings, also in favor of same-sex marriage, with several others currently pending(Walters, 2014). Garcia's controversial decision is destined for appeal to a higher court, Abbott affirmed, and it appears that the case might find its way to the U.S. Supreme court, with potential far-reaching political implications for how we understand the relation of federal authority to state rights(Walters, 2014).

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