US judge strikes down Texas ban on same-sex marriage

The decision comes after similar rulings in Utah and Oklahoma

A US federal judge declared on Wednesday that a ban on same-sex marriage in the southern state of Texas is unconstitutional.

The ruling follows similar decisions recently made in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia.

LGBT rights campaigners in these states have been emboldened by a landmark Supreme Court ruling last year that said legally married homosexual couples could not be denied the federal benefits enjoyed by married heterosexual couples. 

However, the state will continue to enforce the ban pending an appeal from the state of Texas that will likely go to the US Supreme Court, where a number of lawsuits from different states are expected to be heard next year.

Judge Orlando Garcia issued the preliminary injunction on Wednesday after two gay couples challenged a Texas constitutional amendment and a longstanding law.

Garcia said the couples are likely to win their cases and the ban should be lifted.

He is the first judge in his conservative New Orleans-based court to reach such a decision.

He wrote on Wednesday:"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.

"Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution," Garcia added.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who also is the leading Republican candidate to succeed Governor Rick Perry, said he would appeal the ruling.

Todd Staples, a candidate for lieutenant governor who drafted the Texas constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, also denounced the court's decision.

"I am disappointed that judicial activism is once again trying to trump the will of the people. This ruling is the poster child of the culture war occurring in America today," he said.

Meanwhile, at least 17 states, mostly in the Northeast, and the Washington capital district, now allow marriage of same-sex couples.

In its decision last June, the Supreme Court allowed same-sex unions to resume in California, but did not rule on the right to marry.

It instead ordered the federal government to recognise same-sex marriages as valid by striking down the part of the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act that denied same-sex married couples federal benefits.

Since the high court ruling, every judge deciding on a same-sex marriage case has come down in favour of gay marriage.

However, conservatives against same-sex marriage have not been persuaded by the high court precedent.

A bill recently introduced in Congress by conservative Republicans titled the State Marriage Defense Act would require the federal government to respect each state's determinations of its residents' marital status when applying federal law.

But it is unlikely to pass in the Democratic-led Senate.

Read more: US judge overturns 'unconstitutional' gay marriage ban in Virginia
  Gay marriage: US gives raft of new rights to same-sex married couples
US federal judge rules Oklahoma ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional
‘Wow, you really do have two mums!’: What it's like when the children of lesbian mothers go to school  
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high