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Federal judge strikes down Texas gay marriage ban

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 26, 2014 at 1:46 p.m.

AUSTIN, Texas — A federal judge declared Texas' ban on gay marriage unconstitutional Wednesday, but left it in place until an appeals court can rule on the case.

Judge Orlando Garcia issued the preliminary injunction after two gay couples challenged a state constitutional amendment and a longstanding law. He said the couples are likely to win their case and the ban should be lifted, but said he would give the state time to appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals before do so.

"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."

The ruling is the latest in a series of victories for gay rights activists following similar decisions in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia.

But this was the first time a court in the conservative 5th Circuit has reached such a decision. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was expected to file an expedited appeal.

Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes filed their federal civil rights lawsuit saying Texas' ban unconstitutionally denied them the fundamental right to marry because of their sexual orientation. Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman filed a lawsuit saying Texas officials were violating their rights by not recognizing their marriage conducted in a state where gay marriage is legal.

Attorneys for the state argued that Texas voters had imposed the ban through a referendum and that Texas officials were within their rights to defend marriage traditions.

Another gay couple has filed a separate lawsuit in federal court in Austin. In that case, two men argue that the ban discriminates against them based on their gender. That case is scheduled for a hearing later this year.

Comments on: Federal judge strikes down Texas gay marriage ban

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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 total comments

djigoo says... February 26, 2014 at 2:39 p.m.

Good news for liberty!

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Dontcallmenames says... February 26, 2014 at 4:29 p.m.

Good news for those who love immorality and moral decay!

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TheBatt says... February 26, 2014 at 4:44 p.m.

What part of "Constitutional Amendment" do these judges not understand?

What part of the "will of the people" do they not understand?

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NoUserName says... February 26, 2014 at 5:03 p.m.

Moral decay? Didn't they say the same thing about the British Invasion? And 'will of the people?' Really? That's the argument? I don't think I can roll my eyes enough.

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Popsmith says... February 26, 2014 at 5:33 p.m.

It's such a hardship that these poor deviants are denied the right to pervert marriage.

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23cal says... February 26, 2014 at 6:34 p.m.

The gnashing of teeth on the road to the dustbin of history is music to my ears.

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Whodini says... February 26, 2014 at 8:13 p.m.

If the people want to rush their plane to hell then allow them to do so. I personally feel like making such a ruling to change the U.S. Constitution is a huge insult to the honor it was founded upon. Hey so much in this life is altered to please people instead if pleasing the Lord! Can't wait to get to heaven where Gods word is written in stone and man nor devil can change it! My goodness for real!

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Packman says... February 26, 2014 at 9:20 p.m.

@23Cal - When that dude was squealing like a pig in the movie Deliverance, was that music to your ears too? You know, dudes having sex with dudes and such.

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