The Texas Tribune reports that Federal Judge in San Antonio has struck down Texas’ constitutional ban on gay marriage. The decision, written by Judge Orlando Garcia (an appointee of President Clinton), found the provision inconsistent with the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which mandates equal protection and due process under law. Judge Garcia has served on the Federal Judiciary since 1994, and previously served both as a Justice on the State Court of Appeals (1991 to 1994) and as a member of the Texas House of Representatives (1983 to 1991). Both were elected offices he held as a Democrat.
Judge Garcia also stayed his own ruling, pending appeal. Attorney General Greg Abbott, one of the key defendants in this case, released a somewhat brief statement on the subject, wherein he declared his intention to appeal the case to the Federal Appeals Court. Of note is just how lightly Attorney General Abbott tread on the subject. Among his quotes were that there were “good, well meaning people” on either side of the issue. In my opinion, that was the most telling tidbit on the subject, to see hard-right Republicans such as Abbott realize and accept the inevitable, that this issue is not going away.
Other opponents of gay marriage, however, were not so restrained on the subject. “As the author of the constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, I am disappointed that judicial activism is once again trying to trump the will of the people,” Todd Staples, Agriculture Commissioner and candidate in the Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor, said. “This ruling is the poster child of the culture war occurring in America today. We will fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.”
State Senator and fellow Lieutenant Governor candidate Dan Patrick held a similar belief. However, unlike Staples, Patrick committed one of the biggest Freudian slips I can recall from recent memory in Texas politics.
Make of it what you will. The real implication of all this is just that it is another case going towards the Supreme Court. I would bet that the Fifth Circuit reverses the ruling, much like as what happened in the HB2 case.