Marriage equality inevitable following ruling on Texas gay marriage ban
A San Antonio couple brought a suit to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas. The couple argued that the state’s gay marriage ban caused them hardships that heterosexual married couples don’t face. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled the ban unconstitutional.
A preliminary injunction on the state’s ban was issued, but Garcia issued a stay on his order, which means the ban will still remain in effect pending the appeal. The ruling refers to the state’s current restrictions, which violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and are therefore unenforceable.
“The court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature,” Garcia said, “but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent.”
A decision that has been left to the discretion of states in the past is now being overturned in the fight for marriage equality.
“Regulation of marriage has traditionally been the province of the states and remains so today,” Garcia continued. “However, any state law involving marriage or any other protected interest must comply with the United States Constitution.”
As the entire country continues the movement toward supporting same-sex marriage, the end result of giving all citizens the right to marriage equality looks promising.
Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman got married in Massachusetts in 2001 and want the state of Texas to recognize their union. Only one parent can be on the birth certificate of the child they have together. Dimetman was not automatically considered the other parent, like on birth certificates of heterosexual couples. Dimetman was required to follow the adoption process: hiring a lawyer and participating in home study evaluations and a criminal background check. The couple was told they could not jointly adopt a child because Texas does not recognize the legality of their marriage.
“If our marriage was recognized, I wouldn’t have to do it,” Dimetman said.
Couple Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss have been together for more than 16 years, 11 of which were spent in a long-distance relationship while Holmes was serving in the U.S. Air Force. After 23 years of service, Holmes retired, and the couple hopes to marry in their home state of Texas.
The couples are likely to win their cases, and the ban will eventually be lifted. Garcia won’t enforce his ruling pending one by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is hearing two other states’ cases.
“There have been 19 decisions since last summer, and all of the rulings have come down in favor of plaintiffs challenging same-sex restrictions as unconstitutional,” said Neel Lane, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Similar decisions have been made in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia. Including the District of Columbia, 17 states recognize gay marriage — with the inclusion of eight states where it became legal in 2013. In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that legally married same-sex couples nationwide are eligible for federal benefits, in turn striking down a central part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
In 2005, Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage. Less than a decade later, the support for same-sex marriage has been overwhelming, and the people are singing a different tune.
The generation of our grandchildren won’t live in a society where same-sex couples are extensively discriminated against. It’s only a matter of time until all 50 states recognize gay marriage as each state follows suit. Eventually, there won’t be a difference between straight marriage and gay marriage — it will all just be marriage. Just like how our parents and grandparents were part of the history in the movement against racial discrimination, we are part of the history moving away from sexual orientation discrimination.
Opinion columnist Gemrick Curtom is a public relations junior and may be reached at [email protected]