The San Antonio Express-News reports that Federal District Judge Orlando Garcia (a Clinton appointee who had previously held both Judicial and non-Judicial office in Texas as a Democrat) has set a hearing on the constitutionality of the ban on gay marriage and civil unions in Texas. The hearing, which will be held on February 12, will determine if a temporary injunction should be granted against enforcement of the provision. That being said, even if the District Court agrees with plaintiffs, such a decision would probably be summarily quashed by the Fifth Circuit upon emergency appeal, as what happened in the HB2 saga.
The case involves two couples, a lesbian one from Austin who had legally been married when residing in Massachusetts, as well as a gay one from the DFW area who, as far as I can tell, simply want to get married though have not done so yet. Plaintiffs admit that this case is meant to eventually consolidate with others from around the nation in order to present a compelling case to the Supreme Court to overturn bans on gay marriage.
From what I understand, this case revolves specifically around Texas’ denial of same-sex marriages. However, the amendment to the State Constitution prohibiting these marriages, which was adopted in a 2005 vote, is far more expansive. It prohibits civil unions and, according to the Attorney General, local domestic partnerships. Actually, the amendment specifically bans the recognition of any institution “identical or similar to marriage.” If marriage is identical to itself, well…you get the point. This is why we need more attorneys and fewer exterminators on the Legislature, but I digress.
A sign of the times is that this amendment was approved by 76% of the State in 2005, with the support of every county except Travis County. Today, needless to say, things have changed.