A federal judge in San Antonio ruled Wednesday that Texas' ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. However, he also issued a stay, which means the law remains in effect for now, pending the possibility of an appeal.
The ruling makes Texas one of a growing number of states to have the legality of its ban on gay marriages challenged by the courts. One of the state cases, legal experts believe, is likely wind up before the Supreme Court.
The following Texas politicians and political candidates released statements and took to social media on Wednesday to comment on the decision:
Attorney General Greg Abbott, R-Texas, running for governor
"This is an issue on which there are good, well-meaning people on both sides. And, as the lower court acknowledged today, it's an issue that will ultimately be resolved by a higher court. Texas will begin that process by appealing today's ruling to the Fifth Circuit. Because the judge has stayed his own decision, his ruling has no immediate practical effect. Instead, the ultimate decision about Texas law will be made by the Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court.
"The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled over and over again that States have the authority to define and regulate marriage. The Texas Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman. If the Fifth Circuit honors those precedents, then today's decision should be overturned and the Texas Constitution will be upheld."
"As a longtime advocate and ally of the LGBTQ community, I am thrilled by this decision. It is becoming increasingly difficult for opponents of marriage equality to justify discrimination under the American Constitution. There is simply no rational basis for the government to prohibit two loving adults from marrying one another.
I have been filing legislation to repeal the Texas ban on marriage equality since 2007, and since 2005 I have been fighting to repeal 21.06, the unconstitutional statute (Lawrence v. Texas) that makes homosexual conduct a criminal offense. The Supreme Court will ultimately weigh in on this issue, and I am optimistic that we will get a favorable result. The tide is turning, and today's decision shows that we just might see national marriage equality sooner rather than later."
State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Texas, running for governor
"I believe that all Texans who love one another and are committed to spending their lives together should be allowed to marry."
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, R-Texas, running for re-election
"I am a longtime defender of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, which is why I led the effort to pass the Defense of Marriage Act back in 2003 and pressed for a Constitutional amendment in 2005. Once again, an activist federal judge has unilaterally attempted to undermine the will of the people of Texas who affirmed this amendment with 76% of the vote. I am insisting that the state of Texas appeal this ruling to protect our time-tested, traditional Texas values."
"Today's ruling on gay marriage by a SA federal judge undermines the values of an overwhelming majority of TX voters."
State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Texas, running for lieutenant governor
"As Lieutenant Governor I'll fight activist judges and defend our traditional Texas values."
"MARRIAGE= ONE MAN & ONE WOMAN. Enough of these activist judges. FAVORITE if you agree. I know the silent majority out there is with us!"
"Marriage is between one man and one woman. Period."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Republican
"Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens. The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn't be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state."
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican
"Today's ruling by a federal judge, invalidating Texas' ban on same-sex marriage, is a troubling display of judicial activism. Our Constitution leaves it to the States to define marriage, and unelected judges should not be substituting their own policy views for the reasoned judgments of the citizens of Texas, who adopted our marriage law directly by referendum. The court's decision undermines the institution of marriage, and I applaud Attorney General Abbott's decision to appeal this ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals."
Department of Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, R-Texas, running for lieutenant governor
"Having carried the constitutional amendment defining marriage between 1 man & 1 woman I will change my definition of marriage when God does"
"This ruling is the poster child of the culture war occurring today.We will fight this all the way to the Sup. Court..."
State Sen. Ken Paxton, R-Texas, running for attorney general
"In November 2005, Texans voted to Constitutionally define marriage to 'consist only of the union of one man and one woman.'"
"This measure, which passed by a margin of 3-to-1, clearly expressed public support for traditional marriage."
"Marriage is a matter reserved to the states, in accordance with our history, traditions, and judicial precedent, and should remain that way."
Texas Railroad Chairman Barry Smitherman, R-Texas, running for attorney general
"Marriage is between one man and one woman, period. I am deeply troubled by Judge Garcia's ruling that I know General Abbott will successfully appeal to the 5th Circuit. Some liberal, unelected federal judges with lifetime appointments seem to be missing the point that not only is there a rational basis for our constitutional definition of marriage, there is compelling governmental interest in maintaining core Judeo-Christian values here in Texas.
From the founding of our Republic, states have always maintained the right to define marriage. Whether it was a proscription on the ability of people to marry a first or second cousin or some other family member, or a prohibition on children getting married, states have always rightfully been the ones to define who could who could not marry. Federal judges' attempts in the wake of the Windsor case to usurp that power from the states must be halted immediately.
I urge the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn this disastrous ruling as soon as possible."
KDFW FOX 4
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