Thursday, February 27, 2014

LGBT Friends and Foes Respond To Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Posted By on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 3:06 PM

LGBT advocates (and haters) didn't hesitate to respond to yesterday's historic gay rights news. In an opinion issued Wednesday, San Antonio-based federal Judge Orlando Garcia ruled Texas' ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and said the restrictions against marriage equality "demean [homosexual couples'] dignity for no legitimate reason," as the Current reported.

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via Creative Commons

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, an honorary co-chair of the pro-marriage equality group Southerners for the Freedom to Marry, praised the decision.

“Today is a triumphant day for equality in Texas. The federal court in San Antonio reaffirmed what we’ve believed all along, that in the United States of America equality and freedom are not dependent on the color of your skin, the origin of your last name, or the person you love," said Castro in a statement. "I welcome today’s affirmation of our nation’s fundamental values and I look forward to seeing Texas, as well as more states across our country, continue to make progress.”

Likewise, local state senator and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Leticia Van de Putte, who has authored LGBT-right legislation in the lege, applauded Garcia's ruling, writing, "nothing about this interferes with communities of faith. Given today's Texas decision, along with federal courts in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and other states, I hope this issue is resolved quickly by the Supreme Court so that the government no longer dictates our private lives."

But, expectedly, Gov. Rick Perry—  a staunch anti-LGBT champion— threw shade at the decision by casting the move as contrary to what Texans want by referencing the 2005 constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage, placed on a ballot and passed by 76 percent of voters.

"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," he said in a release. "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."

However, with undeniable gains in the past few years (admitted even by the state's lead counsel during this case's first court hearing) gay rights have continually garnered popular support, making the nearly decades old vote seem almost archaic at this point. Take for instance, a 2013 poll commissioned by state LGBT rights lobbying and advocacy group Equality Texas that found  the largest increase in support for the gay community was found among voters’ approval of same-sex marriage. By a 47.9 percent to 47.5 percent margin, Texans support allowing lesbian and gays the freedom to marry, a more than five percent increase since the September 2010 poll.

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