Judge strikes down Texas gay marriage ban - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Judge strikes down Texas gay marriage ban

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A radical ruling from a federal judge came down Wednesday. According to the judge, Texas' same-sex marriage ban violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

They embraced and got a little teary-eyed as they congratulated one another.

Mark Phariss said, "I'm 54 years old and this was the first time that I've ever heard, had a court or really any other people say, in an official capacity, say that I'm equal to anyone else."

His partner, Victor Holmes, added, "It's amazing how much emotion is all bound up in this. It's kind of hard to actually get through that to actually make a statement."

Holmes and Phariss are one of two same-sex couples suing the state to strike down the Texas gay marriage ban and the states refusal to recognize same-sex marriages of Texans in other states.

"We have made do with the laws of Texas. We've made do for our family. I am gratified that this means that my son will never have to make do," said Cleopatra De Leon.

Cleopatra and her wife, Nicole Dimetman, were legally married in Massachusetts, but live in Austin.

On Wednesday afternoon, United States District Judge, Orlando Garcia, granted them all a preliminary injunction, ruling the state's current restrictions on same-sex marriage violates the due process and equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and are therefore, unenforceable.

Nicole said, "It's a huge victory for us, but it is also a victory for young people who don't have to go through the process that we all went through growing up, daring to dream."

In anticipation of the ruling, LGBT couples, advocates and elected officials rallied back in Austin, in support of marriage equality in Texas.

The couples say the lawsuit is not about economic benefits.

"The reason why I want to marry Vic is because I love him more than anything else," said Mark.

Texas Proposition 2, also known as the Definition of Marriage Act, was on the November 8, 2005 election ballot as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.

In Texas, marriage is defined as the union of a man and woman.

Currently, the state and its political subdivisions can not create or recognize any legal status identical to or similar to marriage, including legal status relationships created outside of Texas.

This case is headed for the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Several cases like this are being appealed, and it's likely one or more, will reach the United States Supreme Court in 2015.

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