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(KENS5) –Two weeks after two same-sex couples pleaded for the state of Texas not to ban gay marriage, a district federal judge has ruled on the controversial case.U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia granted the couples a preliminary injunction, which would strike down the same-sex marriage ban, pending the outcome of any appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Read the ruling here. On Feb. 12, a federal courtroom in San Antonio became the epicenter of the debate over Texas’ same-sex marriage ban and whether it holds up under the U.S. Constitution.U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled Wednesday afternoon on a pre-trial request to temporarily bar Texas from enforcing its ban while a lawsuit filed by two gay couples proceeds.
“Texas’ current marriage laws deny homosexual couples the right to marry, and in doing so, demean their dignity for no legitimate reason,” Judge Garcia said. “Accordingly, the Court finds these laws are unconstitutional and hereby grants a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendants from enforcing Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage.” Plaintiffs Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss allege the 2005 ban treats the LGBT community unequally. Read on…
(CNN) — In a major milestone for gay rights, the U.S. government on Monday expanded recognition of same-sex marriages in federal legal matters, including bankruptcies, prison visits and survivor benefits. “It is the (Justice Department’s) policy to recognize lawful same-sex marriages as broadly as possible, to ensure equal treatment for all members of society regardless of sexual orientation,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a memo to all employees. The federal expansion includes 34 states where same-sex marriage isn’t legal, but the new federal benefits being extended to those states will apply only where the U.S. government has jurisdiction. For example, a same-sex couple legally married in Massachusetts can now have a federal bankruptcy proceeding recognized in Alabama, even though it doesn’t allow same-sex marriages.In the past, the U.S. government could challenge the couple’s joint bankruptcy because Alabama doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage. Human Rights Campaign, which advocates equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, called it a “landmark announcement” that it “will change the lives of countless committed gay and lesbian couples for the better.”
But Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, criticized what he called the latest move by the Obama administration “to undermine the authority and sovereignty of the states to make their own determinations regulating the institution of marriage.” The move impacts how millions of Americans interact with the federal government, including bankruptcy cases, prison visitation rights, survivor benefits for police officers and firefighters killed on the job, and the legal right to refuse to testify to incriminate a spouse.