Supporters of same-sex marriage in Texas got some good news recently when a judge ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. The decision may have come as a surprise to conservative Texans who supported the ban, but it was a huge step forward for the people who supported the lawsuit challenging the ban.
According to reports, the federal judge who made the ruling announced that because the ban on same-sex marriage serves no “legitimate governmental purpose,” it should be considered unconstitutional. The issue is far from resolved, however, as the ruling will not be finalized unless it successfully makes it through the appeals process. This means that same-sex couples are still unable to pursue a marriage or divorce in Texas at this time.
In the meantime, the ruling has also sparked debates on how same-sex marriages affect Texas families, particularly in regards to children of same-sex parents.
Proponents of the ban on same-sex marriage argue that children of gay and lesbian parents are not given the chance to grow up in a stable, safe and positive environment. They say that marriage is for procreation and that children benefit most from having one father and one mother.
But these statements have been sharply criticized. Supporters of same-sex marriage and parenting laws in Texas say that there is actually no evidence to support these claims. Instead, they argue, children benefit most from having two loving and supportive parents. It does not matter if they are a mom and a dad, two dads or two moms. The federal judge in this case ruled in favor of these arguments, dismissing allegations that allowing same-sex marriage could lead to decreased procreation and greater acceptance of pedophilia or incest.
While some see the ruling as a huge success and others see it as a huge setback, the recent lawsuit is not about who is right and who is wrong: it is about what is fair. In his ruling, the judge specified that because the Texas law only banned certain people from receiving the benefits of marriage, it is unconstitutional. It remains to be seen if the ruling will hold up against the inevitable appeals, but we will certainly follow this issue and explore how it might affect Texas families.
Source: CNN, “Texas ban on same-sex marriage struck down by federal judge,” Greg Botelho and Bill Mears, Feb. 27, 2014