A federal judge today (Feb. 26) struck down a ban on same-sex marriage in Texas, ruling that it has no “rational relation to a legitimate government purpose.” The decision is the latest in a chain of federal and state court moves to overturn current laws forbidding gays and lesbians from legal matrimony.
However, the judge stayed enforcement of his decision, pending an appeal, meaning same-sex couples in Texas, for the time being, cannot get married.
A Texas Tech University School of Law expert can discuss points involved in the debate.
• The ultimate decision is months, if not years, in the future.
• The Austin couple, in addition to the obvious equal protection challenge, can challenge the state’s unwillingness to recognize a marriage performed in a sister state.
• One jurisdiction intruding into another was a big piece of last term’s Windsor case, invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
• “My best guess is that ultimately, the Texas limitation on homosexual marriage, in part because it is in the State Constitution, may well be stricken as manifesting excessive hostility to a minority group.”
• “Given the near certainty of appeal, it does make sense for the District Court to stay its decision, because if it is overturned, the status of those married between the decision and the reversal would become an unnecessarily complex question.