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No ruling in Texas same sex marriage lawsuit

We’re going to have to wait to see if an injunction will be granted against Texas’ Double Secret Illegal Anti-Gay Marriage constitutional amendment.

RedEquality

A San Antonio federal judge issued no decision Wednesday in a request to bar the state from enforcing its ban on same-sex marriage.

The request for a preliminary injunction by two gay couples who sued the state of Texas in October is seen as a giant step towards marriage equality.

Plaintiffs Nicole Dimetman, her spouse Cleo DeLeon and Vic Holmes and his life partner, Mark Phariss, whom were featured in a story this weekend in the San Antonio Express-News, allege the 2005 ban is unconstitutional because it treats the LGBT community unequally.

“This is one of the most important things we’ve ever done,” said Dimetman, who married DeLeon in 2009 in Massachusetts. “We look forward to our day in court.”

Their suit rides a wave of change in the legal and social landscape. It is among more than 40 cases challenging same-sex marriage bans in more than 20 states, including some where federal courts have ruled that similar bans are unconstitutional. Two other suits are pending in federal courts in Texas.

The hearing Wednesday morning before U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia lasted about two hours. Federal marshals had geared up in case there were clashes between supporters of gay rights and opponents, courthouse sources said.

“As we all know, no matter how I decide this, this matter is going to be appealed in time,” Garcia said, adding that any of the courts who have been dealing with same-sex marriage will make their way to the Supreme Court

To get a preliminary injunction, the plaintiffs would have had to convince Garcia that they are likely to win when the full lawsuit is litigated later and show that they are being harmed right now.

Judge Garcia said he would take the matter under advisement, but did not say when he would issue a ruling. Kind of an anticlimax if you ask me, but we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, we did get a ruling on same sex marriage in Kentucky.

In a ruling that could open the door to gay marriage in Kentucky, a federal judge on Wednesday struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing valid same-sex marriages performed in other states, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II joined nine other federal and state courts in invalidating such bans.

Ruling in a suit brought by four gay and lesbian couples, Heyburn said that while “religious beliefs … are vital to the fabric of society … assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.”

Heyburn said “it is clear that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling throwing out the Defense of Marriage Act, Heyburn struck down the portion of Kentucky’s 2004 constitutional amendment that said “only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky.”

You can see a copy of the decision here. The judge did not rule on whether same sex marriages must be allowed to be performed in Kentucky, as that was not part of the lawsuit, just that Kentucky must recognize marriages that are performed in other states. Defenders or Kentucky’s ban on same sex marriage made the same tired arguments about “tradition” and procreation (Texas also made them), which Judge Heyburn swatted down. I’m sure this will be appealed, but for now chalk up another win for the good guys. So far, no federal judge has ruled against the plaintiffs in any of these lawsuits. I sure hope Judge Garcia won’t be the first. Equality Texas, Lone Star Q, and the Observer have more.

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