Similar to what Annise Parker said last year, that denying gay couples benefits was unconstitutional, a federal judge made a ruling today that's making the state of Texas look a little more open to same-sex marriage. Update, 4:30 p.m. Feb. 27 As expected the governor and attorney general have announced their appeal of this ruling. Per the Houston Chronicle:
"Defendants ... Rick Perry, Greg Abbott, and David Lakey ... hereby appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from the Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction, signed and entered in this action on February 26, 2014 ," said the state's notice, filed in federal court in San Antonio on Thursday.
Original story: U.S. Judge Orlando Garcia called the state ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, but stayed the ruling pending an appeal. The judge said banning marriages violates our rights under equal protection. The Austin American-Statesman explained that the judge: "[I]ssued an injunction barring Texas from enforcing a law and constitutional amendment that prohibit same-sex couples from marrying and ban the state from recognizing same-sex marriages that were legally performed in other states."
The good Gov. Rick Perry had this to add to the mix after news of the ruling hit the web and airwaves.
"Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens, " Perry said in a statement. "The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn't be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state."
The great state of Texas has been in the eyes of groups seeking to increase same-sex marriage rights in about a dozen states throughout the South. This month, Virginia became the first southern state to have its gay marriage ban lifted by a U.S. District judge's ruling.
"We know that the South is ready," Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry told the Associated Press. "For too long the conversation has come from other parts of the country who have moved forward faster."
The ruling came in the lawsuit brought by Cleopatra DeLeon, Nicole Dimetman, Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss and the law firm Akin Gump.
State Rep. Garnet Coleman backed the move saying she was "thrilled" that the LGBTQ community in Texas was getting a nod towards furthering their rights.
"I have been filing legislation to repeal the Texas ban on marriage equality since 2007, and since 2005 I have been fighting to repeal 21.06, the unconstitutional statute (Lawrence v. Texas) that makes homosexual conduct a criminal offense," she said in a statement. "The Supreme Court will ultimately weigh in on this issue, and I am optimistic."
And of course no matter the outcome there will always be this wonderful gay marriage endorsement that Sen. Dan Patrick will be playing down all night to his GOP bredren.
Sen. Dan Patrick really meant this, maybe.
Update at 6:30 p.m.: Texas Attorney General tries to crush any hope gay Texans might have in gaining marriage rights.
"The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled over and over again that States have the authority to define and regulate marriage. The Texas Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman. If the Fifth Circuit honors those precedents, then today's decision should be overturned and the Texas Constitution will be upheld."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.