FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2014
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AUSTIN — Today the Federal Court in the Western District of Texas ruled that Texas's recognition of marriage as one man and one woman UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
In 2005, I led the fight against the resolution in the Texas Senate that would ultimately amend the Texas Constitution to recognize only "traditional" one-man and one-woman marriages, effectively banning same-sex marriage. I argued then for the equal rights of all citizens. The resolution that passed did not empower anybody, but only robbed the rights of certain people.
This past session I authored Senate Bill 480 to repeal parts of the Texas Defense of Marriage Act to legalize civil unions. Although the bill did not pass, I remain committed to the cause of marriage-equality. As a society we should not tolerate acts of discrimination, hate, or violence.
There are over 46,000 same-sex couples living in Texas. They live in our communities, work in our communities, attend church in our communities, and volunteer for our military where they fight for our freedom and liberty. They are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and colleagues and friends. Same-sex couples should be allowed the freedom to form committed relationships and love one another, be treated with dignity and respect, and be given the same equal protections.
Public opinion has evolved in Texas, as in the rest of the country. A majority of voters now support the legal recognition of same-gender couples. 69% of Texans believe there should be some form of legal recognition of same-gender relationships (civil unions and/or marriage). According to a poll conducted by the Respect for Marriage Coalition, 83% of Americans believe full marriage equality will occur within the next ten years. Just last year, section 3 of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as one man and one woman was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States.
"Today's court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent," Judge Garcia wrote in the order. "Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution." I wholeheartedly agree.