Wednesday a federal judge in San Antonio joined judges in Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Virginia in ruling that bans on same-sex couples marrying or recognizing out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples are unconstitutional.
“Today the 6th federal judge in a row has ruled – in Texas – that there is simply no legitimate justification for denying marriage to loving gay and lesbian couples,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry.
“The court’s holding is solid and serious, and follows the language and logic of the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling last year and the Constitution’s clear command. With 47 marriage cases in 25 states now moving forward, and the possibility that a freedom to marry case will again reach the Supreme Court as soon as 2015, we must continue the conversations and progress – Texan to Texan, American to American – that show that all of America is ready for the freedom to marry,” Wolfson added.
Kenneth D. Upton, Senior Counsel in Lambda Legal’s South Central Regional Office in Dallas, said: “The yellow rose of Texas has a distinctly rainbow hue today. That the judge in this case saw fit to issue a preliminary injunction preventing Texas state officials from enforcing the discriminatory marriage bans illustrates his belief that the state was unlikely to prevail at trial. As important, this ruling extends the impressive run of recent victories that have stretched from Utah to Virginia. The walls of exclusion continue to crumble as court after court after court recognizes that denying marriage to same-sex couples is discrimination, pure and simple.”
Upton added, “Congratulations to the attorneys in this case – Barry A. Chasnoff, Daniel McNeel Lane, Jr., Jessica M. Weisel, Matthew E. Pepping, and Michael P. Cooley of the firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, as well as San Antonio Attorney Frank Stenger-Castro – and to the plaintiffs. We look forward to the continued progress of this case and to the continued march towards justice for LGBT individuals and their families across Texas.”
The Public Research Religion Institute released data Wednesday that showed increased support for the freedom to marry in the South and in Texas. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Southern millennials support the freedom to marry, and support across the South is split, with 48 percent in support and 48 percent opposed. Support has grown the fastest in the South of any region in the country, more than doubling in the last 10 years. In Texas, support is split, with 48 percent of Texans in support and 49 percent opposed.
On Monday, Freedom to Marry launched a public education campaign called Southerners for the Freedom to Marry, with the goal of building majority support for marriage in Southern states, including Texas.