Another Victory For Marriage Equality As Federal Judge Rules Texas’ Gay Marriage Ban Illegal

Marriage discrimination law struck down by federal judge in Texas. Gay marriage by state - map from Pew Research.

Texas’ marriage discrimination law has been struck down by a federal judge. This is the 6th state were such laws have been struck down. Gay marriage by state: Map from Pew Research.

Marriage discrimination laws keep falling around the country. Today, Texas joins the ranks of states whose gay marriage bans have been ruled unconstitutional. Judge Orlando Garcia, of the U.S. District Court in San Antonio, wrote that the ban demeaned gay couples “for no legitimate reason,” according to NBC News.

Marriage discrimination has lost a lot of support over the last 10 years.

76% of Texas voters passed the ban back in 2005. Right now, 17 states recognize the right of gay couples to marry. Back then, it was just one–Massachusetts. Far more states still have amendments for marriage discrimination, though. Recently, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Utah have seen their laws ruled unconstitutional. Judges also ruled that Kentucky and Ohio can’t refuse to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

The courts have growing influence over marriage equality laws. Since the Supreme Court struck down DOMA and California’s Proposition 8, courts have used those rulings as their guidance in how to rule on the marriage discrimination cases they face.

These rulings show that the shift regarding marriage equality is happening everywhere, not just in blue states. Marriage equality group Freedom to Marry says this is a strategy to pave the way for the Supreme Court to rule all marriage discrimination unconstitutional.

More Texans support marriage equality than oppose.

In December 2013, 53% of Americans supported marriage equality. In 2003, only 32% stood in support. These findings, in a report from the Public Religion Research Institute, show a massive change happening in the U.S.

Texas is a fairly solid red state. However, support for marriage equality is gaining momentum there, too. A total of 65% of Texans support either marriage equality or civil unions. A majority of Republicans there support one of those two. Even some of the clergy thinks forcing their religion on others through law is bad. While they themselves don’t approve of marriage equality, they also don’t believe in keeping marriage discrimination around either. Reverend Jonathan Carmona, of Victoria, said:

“I do believe in what the Bible says about homosexuality being a sin, but I do not believe in forcing my theological convictions into legislation. If, under freedom of religion, all religions have equality in America then why do we try to only force Christian beliefs on everyone instead of beliefs of other religions as well? The majority of Americans would not stand for Islamic convictions forced on them through federal legislation, so it’s not right to force Christian convictions on everyone.”

Another said that it’s about acceptance. He thinks many will still not accept marriage equality. But he also said that it won’t affect churches one way or another. Those that perform same-sex marriages will continue to do so, and those that don’t, won’t. And he’s right; striking down marriage discrimination laws does not force churches to perform same-sex marriages. For more quotes from Victoria, click here.

Texas will not begin same-sex marriage right now, though. Judge Garcia issued a stay, pending appeal. His words about marriage discrimination serving no real governmental purpose are true. Marriage discrimination has biblical evidence for it, but no real-world evidence for it. Marriage discrimination laws are all about legislating morality. They are not about the good of society.