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Federal court finds that Texas’ prohibition against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional

On March 24, 2014

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De Leon v. Perry, ___ F.Supp. 2d___ 2014 WL 715741, SA-13-CA-00982-OLG (W.D. Tex. 2014) (injunction) (02-26-14)

Opinion: Applying the US Supreme Court’s recent decision in United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013), Hon. Orlando L. Garcia ruled that Texas’s prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the US Constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process, finding the Texas constitution and related family code statutes to be unconstitutional and granting a preliminary injunction prohibiting the named officials from enforcing those laws. Judge Garcia held that there is no rational relationship between Section 32 (banning same sex marriage) and a legitimate state interest, rejecting claims that the ban promotes responsible child-rearing; encourages procreation within marriage and upholds tradition. There was no evidence to support the notion that a gay parent is not as responsible as a heterosexual parent or that banning gay marriage promotes procreation, noting that such an idea would likewise prevent infertile persons and elderly persons from marrying because they too cannot bear their own children. Texas law violates a person’s fundamental right to marry, a right of due process, holding that Texas law cannot define marriage in a way that denies its citizens the freedom of personal choice in deciding whom to marry or deny the same status and dignity to the decision they make. Additionally, the refusal to recognize a same-sex marriage sanctioned in another state is likewise improper and although DOMA gives each state the right to decide if they will recognize same sex marriage, this does not serve as a barrier to the equal protection and due process claims raised in this case. The court stayed execution of the injunction pending review by the 5th Circuit.

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