Saying that a Texas law barring same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and demeans the dignity of homosexuals, a federal judge struck down the law Wednesday. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia doesn't mean gay marriages can be held in Texas, however; he placed a stay on the decision, anticipating an appeal by the state.
The issue is widely expected to be settled eventually by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution," Garcia wrote in his decision. "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."
Garcia ruled in a case that was brought by four plaintiffs that include Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss, who say that the ban on gay marriage, which Texas enacted in 2005, infringes on their rights.
"We are extremely happy — happy beyond words — with Judge Garcia's decision. Having been together almost 17 years, we look forward to the day when we can get married and when all gay Texans enjoy equal rights to marry as well," Phariss and Holmes said in a press release today, according to San Antonio's.
"Today, Judge Garcia affirmed that the Equal Protection Clause applies to all Texans. We are delighted by that decision, and we expect that, if appealed, it will be upheld."
State Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, has said he will defend the ban in court.