Since I already got my roflmao on, I’ll reserve this blog post for just discussing the particulars. First, it happened. A judge in the comically conservative state of Texas has struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage with some gloriously concise wording:
Texas on Wednesday became the latest state to have a federal judge strike down its same-sex marriage ban, thanks to a sweeping decision holding that its current prohibition has no “legitimate governmental purpose.”
No legitimate governmental purpose. That pretty much sums up the whole discriminatory ban in four words.
But couples won’t get to marry quite yet:
The ruling, by San Antonio-based Judge Orlando Garcia, will not take effect immediately: Its enforcement has been stayed while the case works its way through the appeal process, meaning same-sex couples in Texas cannot get married for the time being.
That’s ok. I don’t see how this ruling wouldn’t be upheld. However, that’s not going to stop Texans with a stake in appeasing the religious right from trying:
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said his office will challenge the ruling, which would be heard by a federal appeals court in New Orleans. The Republican is running for governor, with early primary voting now in full swing and the full primary election set for March 4.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled over and over again that states have the authority to define and regulate marriage,” said Abbott. “The Texas Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman.”
Nobody is saying that Texas doesn’t have the right to define and regulate marriage, just that they cannot use that right to introduce discrimination. Nobody pisses and moans that because the state can’t prohibit black people from marrying that Texas has somehow lost the right to regulate marriage (well, I’m sure some people piss and moan about it, but you get the idea). That’s like saying I’m guaranteed the right to swing my fist around and so I ought to be able to swing it into someone else’s face.
Gov. Rick Perry, who is not running for re-election, offered even more forceful remarks, insisting that the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution “guarantees Texas voters the freedom” to decide on the parameters for marriage.
Yes, insofar as those parameters don’t infringe on the liberty of others. That’s what the gay marriage ban did.
“Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman …, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens,” said Perry, an outspoken conservative who ran for president in 2012. “… This is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn’t be achieved at the ballot box.”
Actually, yes it is. If the people voted for internment camps for racial minorities it’s the judiciary’s job to point out that such a law violates the precepts of liberty that are the foundation of this country and to overrule the will of the majority to protect the liberties of all. It took judicial intervention in the Civil Rights Era to essentially rescue blacks from the will of the majority in certain Southern states. In this case, we have a group of people being turned into second class citizens for no good reason – this is precisely the scenario for which the judicial branch of the government was conceived.
Judge Garcia echoed these points in his ruling:
Judge Garcia echoed his colleagues Wednesday with respect to Texas, saying that “equal treatment of all individuals under the law is not merely an aspiration it is a constitutional mandate.”
“(The Texas law) is unconstitutional because, without a rational relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose, it denies same-sex couples the benefits, dignity and value of celebrating marriage and having their out-of-state marriage recognized,” the judge said.
In his ruling, Garcia raised notable arguments from some supporters of same-sex marriage bans: that allowing such unions would hurt children raised in them, that it would stifle procreation and that it “could lead to the recognition of bigamy, incest, pedophilia and group marriage.”
The judge then shot down the defense’s case. “Procreation is not and has never been a qualification for marriage” and “tradition, alone, cannot form a rational basis for a law.”
Texas has “the ‘unquestioned authority’ to regulate and define marriage,” but only “in a way that does not infringe on an individual’s constitutional rights,” Garcia added.
“It is clear that (the four plaintiffs) suffer humiliation and discriminatory treatment under the law on the basis of their sexual orientation, and this stigmatic harm flows directly from Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage,” the judge wrote. “(Texas’ law also) causes needless stigmatization and humiliation for children being raised by the loving same-sex couples being targeted.”
It’s clear, it’s obvious, and yet it will have to be fought for in a long and dragged out fight against people contaminated by the “love” of Jesus.
But for tonight we celebrate.