Texas Ban On Same-Sex Marriages Unconstitutional, Judge Says

A U.S. district court judge overturned Texas' same-sex marriage ban, but stayed his ruling until the appeals process.

Texas Ban On Same-Sex Marriages Unconstitutional, Judge Says

Same-sex couples in Texas saw a victory in the courtroom Wednesday when a federal judge ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. 

The Dallas Morning News reports U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia issued a preliminary injunction against the state's current law that limits marriage to one man and one woman. 

He said in his ruling: "Today's court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent. Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution." (Via U.S. District Court of Texas, Western District)

Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes, one of two couples who challenged Texas' 2005 ban, expressed their excitement about Garcia's ruling by saying they were "pleased beyond words." (Via KENS)

But Garcia's ruling doesn't have any immediate effects and is only a step toward marriage equality for gay couples in Texas. The district court judge stayed his order, which many expect will be appealed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. 

Still, the case could make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is the furthest along of two other federal lawsuits also challenging the Texas ban. (Via Flickr / functoruser)

Wednesday's news comes after representatives for Freedom To Marry, a bipartisan group looking to ramp up same-sex marriage support in the South, said it would spend $1 million on its campaign. (Via Time Warner Cable News Austin)

Seventeen states currently recognize same-sex marriages, while Texas is one of 29 states that ban same-sex marriages through their state's constitutions.