Federal judge strikes down Texas gay marriage ban

Texas became the latest victim of US v. Windsor, the recent pro-gay Supreme Court decision, as a federal judge struck down the state’s gay marriage ban.

The court ruled that under US v. Windsor, the decision from last June that struck down a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the state of Texas cannot “deny homosexual couples the right to marry, and in doing so, demean their dignity for no legitimate reason.”

Here’s the key part of the decision:


The judge did stay the ruling, pending an appeal to the 5th circuit.  Meaning, there will be no marriages of gay couples in Texas until this case works its way through the courts.

Still, the marriage equality train moves forward with what seems like an unstoppable momentum.


In a way, what the Supreme Court’s majority did with US v. Windsor was rather genius. They basically handed us gay marriage with a built-in time-delay.

The decision guarantees that state laws against gays marrying will be struck down, but it also guarantees that the only way that will happen is by individual lawsuits in individual states states.  Justin Snow over at Metro Weekly notes that this is now the sixth time that a federal judge has struck down a state gay marriage ban since the Windsor decision came out.

And while I’m no fan of justice-delayed, it’s an interesting notion putting gay marriage on an egg-timer, so that the successes can dribble out one by one, month by month, and give Americans time to get used to it all, while at the same time giving marriage equality a sense of inevitability which slowly wears down the opposition by attrition.

Again, morally I’m not a fan of biding my time. Politically and strategically, what the Supreme Court majority did is starting to appear more brilliant by the day.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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29 Responses to “Federal judge strikes down Texas gay marriage ban”

  1. wayne says:

    It might shorten the road to SCOTUS if 2 circuits are in conflict…..

  2. DIdn’t a similar incident happen in Virginia last week, and the judge used Loving as a precedent?

  3. The_Fixer says:

    Today, I saw something cool on TV. As usual, I had it on as background noise. I heard “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” come on. I was not paying much attention at first.

    But then, the contestant – a young guy – started talking about how he had just been proposed to by his boyfriend (a charming story in its own right). Well, that captured my attention and I spun around to watch more closely.

    What was telling was the audience’s reaction – all positive. This is the second time I’ve seen an out gay contestant on the show. The first one was a year or two ago, and Meredith Viera introduced his partner in the audience. It came before New York made same-sex marriage legal. Same thing there – no negative reaction from the audience, but it was more of a big deal. Today’s contestant and his introduction was a little different, in that it was no big deal. Just matter-of-fact. Cedrick the Entertainer, the host, treated him just like any straight contestant.

    It was indicative of the changes in the country and how we’re viewing LGBT people. This change, coupled with these one-by-one rulings of the courts, mean that universal same-sex marriage is inevitable in this country.

    It’ll just take a little time. It can’t come soon enough, though. There are people who are nearly dying to get married, and they deserve to have this opportunity before it’s too late. Thankfully, Edie Windsor did all of us a great favor by taking this situation to court, even after it was too late for her and her wife to fully enjoy the moment.

  4. Steven Jaeger says:

    I believe the judge in Perry, said basically the ban didn’t even meet regular scrutiny and didn’t need to go to any higher scrutiny to rule it unconstitutional. If correct, that means, for most judges it’s going to almost need to be a race to not be the last.

  5. Matt Rogers says:

    I think that entire court is Republican appointed, so yeah, it will be interesting.

  6. MichaelS says:

    Well, we were lucky in DADT – let’s not give the administration too much credit there… Remember, they came over kicking and screaming, and only after Reid and Pelosi made it known they were going to act with or without the WH, and the WH didn’t want to look stupid sitting it out. Let’s not forget, Obama fought to wait until the new Congress came in to tackle DADT, and had we let him, how would that have turned out after the Repug takeover of the House?

  7. emjayay says:

    The demographics by age in gay marriage opinion polls are indeed pretty amazing.

  8. emjayay says:

    This is working out pretty much like how non-lawyer me imagined it. I hadn’t thought of the advantages, but besides the slomo getting used to it, it removes the Oppressive Controlling Federal Government part and the Activist Judges part to a major degree anyway.

  9. 2patricius2 says:

    “they will be assimilated” – I love that!

  10. cole3244 says:

    i demand to know how these fair mined judges got seated on our rw judicial system.

  11. BeccaM says:

    I can answer that one, Mike: No, no federal judges have ruled against marriage equality since the Windsor decision. None.

    The reason for SCOTUS to get involved would be to sweep away the remaining cases and overturn all the remaining bans, similar to Loving and Lawrence. The ground for such a case (or cases) is being laid right now, with legally married gay and lesbian couples receiving recognition in some states and by the Feds, but not in certain states. That sets up a classic equal protection and full-faith-and-credit argument, and with the latest federal cases all citing heightened scrutiny, the state bans simply can’t stand.

  12. Mike in Houston says:

    Hey John — Has any federal judge ruled against marriage equality yet? What if all the lower courts agree — what would be the reason for the Supremes to even get involved at that point?

  13. BeccaM says:

    Me neither. We went from having to carry huge envelopes full of legal documentation everywhere to — “Us? We’re married.” “Oh, okay.” — in a breathtakingly short period of time.

    Absent a sweeping decision, this is definitely the next best thing. And I love the fact that even gay and lesbian couples living in the looking-backward states can at least get federal recognition.

  14. Rick Roberts says:

    Nothing. Won’t happen, but the steady march of modernity (and demographics) is making them irrelevant. Their response is to scream more loudly and become more insular. Fine. Whatever. We’ll move on.

    Meanwhile, I enjoy teasing these horrible people, telling them “they will be assimilated” or “to just be patient while we finish constructing the re-education camps”. Bwahaha!

  15. Rick Roberts says:

    It’s coming. In the meantime, it’s fun to watch the most rabid states get skewered for being so horrible.

  16. Rick Roberts says:

    Funny that this one is not causing news alerts to pop up on my phone or computer. Nothing from NYT, CNN, Reuters, or any of them, and a search for “Texas” on Drudge’s cesspool yields nothing.

  17. Ninja0980 says:

    There is only one bigot who saw this coming and didn’t pull any punches.
    And that is the bigot who got trolled yet again with people quoting him.
    That would be one Judge Scalia, who basically said the Windsor ruling would lead to marriage equality.
    And he’s being proven right, tis a beautiful thing.

  18. Thom Allen says:

    Perry and Palin respond. frothy will respond as soon as he dismounts from his dog.

  19. AnthonyLook says:

    The long road to freedom from misguided religious persecution continues. One state at a time. Congrads Texas.

  20. Bose says:

    Yeah, when thinking about how state-by-state challenges would develop, I wasn’t thinking about so many coming through so quickly. It also made more sense to expect that at least one of the first handful would find a judge who would rule to retain a ban.

  21. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I agree. I would have preferred a sweeping decision by SCOTUS, but I never thought I would live to see the sweeping changes that are occurring.

  22. nicho says:

    And it allows 33 opportunities for conservative swindlers to hoover money out of the pockets of the Sheeple.

  23. Naja pallida says:

    I would prefer a Loving v. Virginia style ruling from the Supreme Court, but they’re far too cowardly to ever even come close to something like that. So, I’ll take what we can get.

  24. nicho says:

    For heaven’s sake, they’re still fighting battles they lost in the 12th Century.

  25. nicho says:

    It will be interesting to see what the Petroleum Company Court — I mean Fifth Circuit – does.

  26. Realitycbd says:

    Plus, it allows for 33 different parties thrown by gays instead of just one big one.

  27. BeccaM says:

    Indeed. So far the success rate for upholding the state bans, when challenged in federal courts, has been ZERO.

    I’m with you, John: I am absolutely not a fan of “justice delayed.” But if blatantly unconstitutional religious ‘freedom-to-be-a-bigot’ laws is the best they can come up with, I’ll take it. It’s far better than the probable backlash that would’ve resulted if SCOTUS had simply overturned all of the bans last year.

    Provided, of course, the progress continues at the current clip, where it would appear the state bans become almost irrelevant within a year or two at most. This then sets the stage for the national challenge, ala Loving v. Virginia.

  28. BlueIdaho says:

    Great news, but I wonder what it will take for the religious crazies to realize they haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell now.

  29. pricknick says:

    And the hits just keep rolling.

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