Texas News
1:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Reaction Pours In Regarding Ruling That Overturns Texas’ Gay Marriage Ban

Reaction to Wednesday’s ruling that overturns Texas’ gay marriage ban has poured in from around Texas and across the country:

Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general who's the leading Republican gubernatorial candidate, issued a statement: “This is an issue on which there are good, well-meaning people on both sides. And, as the lower court acknowledged today, it’s an issue that will ultimately be resolved by a higher court. Texas will begin that process by appealing today’s ruling to the Fifth Circuit. Because the judge has stayed his own decision, his ruling has no immediate practical effect. Instead, the ultimate decision about Texas law will be made by the Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled over and over again that States have the authority to define and regulate marriage. The Texas Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman. If the Fifth Circuit honors those precedents, then today’s decision should be overturned and the Texas Constitution will be upheld.”

Lt. Gov David Dewhurst said: "I am a longtime defender of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, which is why I led the effort to pass the Defense of Marriage Act back in 2003 and pressed for a Constitutional amendment in 2005. Once again, an activist federal judge has unilaterally attempted to undermine the will of the people of Texas who affirmed this amendment with 76% of the vote. I am insisting that the state of Texas appeal this ruling to protect our time-tested, traditional Texas values."

Todd Staples, a candidate for lieutenant governor who drafted the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, said: "I am disappointed that judicial activism is once again trying to trump the will of the people. This ruling is the poster child of the culture war occurring in America today."

Gov. Rick Perry said: "Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens. The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn't be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state."

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said: "I believe that all Texans who love one another and are committed to spending their lives together should be allowed to marry."

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said: "This injunction sends a powerful message that gay and lesbian Texans are being harmed every by inequality, and that these plaintiff couples who we're proud to call members of the HRC family are very likely to succeed in striking down Texas' ban on marriage equality. This is a historic day in the heart of the South, and I can't stress enough how important it is to move quickly until loving couples in all 50 states feel the full reach of this victory for equality."

Chuck Smith, executive director of the gay rights group Equality Texas: "Today's ruling by Judge Garcia is a huge victory that moves Texas one step closer to the freedom to marry."

State Rep. Garnet Coleman, a Democrat, said: “As a longtime advocate and ally of the LGBTQ community, I am thrilled by this decision. It is becoming increasingly difficult for opponents of marriage equality to justify discrimination under the American Constitution. There is simply no rational basis for the government to prohibit two loving adults from marrying one another. I have been filing legislation to repeal the Texas ban on marriage equality since 2007, and since 2005 I have been fighting to repeal 21.06, the unconstitutional statute (Lawrence v. Texas) that makes homosexual conduct a criminal offense. The Supreme Court will ultimately weigh in on this issue, and I am optimistic that we will get a favorable result. The tide is turning, and today’s decision shows that we just might see national marriage equality sooner rather than later.”

Jonathan Saenz of Austin-based Texas Values told KERA: “This is just the beginning of an epic battle on marriage in Texas that the Texas people will ultimately win. We know that because the Texas people have spoken on this issue in 2005, overwhelmingly supporting the definition of marriages between one man and one woman.”

Saenz added: “This is one of the most egregious forms of judicial activism of our generation, by Judge Orlando Garcia. This is not the state legislature, and that’s important, because if this issue was in front of the state legislature ... gay advocates would have zero chance for success on this.”

Bob McCranie with Texas Pride Realty told KERA: “I think you’re seeing a wave of  acceptance and a wave of change in America that’s accepting gay and lesbian marriage. You’re seeing some last ditch efforts ... after they’ve been married.”

Rev. Elder James Mitulski, interim senior pastor of Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, the world’s largest predominantly gay church, said: "We give God thanks for Judge Orlando Garcia’s ruling affirming the civil right of marriage equality. With this decision, the federal court has rejected Texas’ assertion that the state has a legitimate purpose in enforcing the sin of discrimination. At Cathedral of Hope, we have been performing Services of Marriage for mixed and same-gendered couples for more than 40 years. All of the services that we perform have religious significance, and we consider them to be marriages that are blessed by a loving and caring God. The federal court’s ruling means the State of Texas has an uphill battle as they try to deny Marriage Equality for same gender couples. Same-sex couples may not yet be married in Texas as enforcement of the court’s ruling has been stayed pending appeal; however, the ruling is still a milestone to be celebrated by all people of faith in the name of social justice. Expanding the protections of marriage to all married loving, committed couples and their families will allow them to take better care of each other. Stronger families lead to stronger communities. ... We pledge our prayers and support to state officials willing to take a stand for social justice. Why should proud LGBT Texans have to leave their home state just to get married?"

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