Gay Marriage

Texas for Marriage/facebook

From Texas Standard:

The Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage today. All 50 states are now required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Ronald “Ronnie” Macklin and his partner, Fritz Johnson-Macklin, are one of those couples. From the Austin suburb of Pflugerville, Ronnie joined Texas Standard to talk about his family’s story –  just minutes after learning about the Supreme Court decision.

Morguefile/flickr

Religious objections to gay marriage would be protected from lawsuits, if a bill passed by the Texas House becomes law.

It got a first OK Thursday by the House and is expected to get final passage today. 

What Does the Alabama Marriage Ruling Mean for Texas?

Feb 9, 2015
Morguefile/flickr

Alabama is now the 37th state to allow same-sex marriage. In January, a federal judge struck down that state’s gay marriage ban, and a federal appeals court let it stand.  

The process went like this:

Alexa Ura/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Signaling significant doubt about the constitutionality of Texas' ban on same-sex marriages, two federal appeals judges on Friday questioned a state attorney's argument that marriage is a “subsidy” that the state has the right to grant and withhold.

In sharp exchanges with two judges of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Jonathan Mitchell of the Texas attorney general’s office argued during the roughly hourlong hearing that defining marriage should be left to the states, not the courts or the federal government. He added that the state should not be forced to recognize marriages that are not between a man and a woman because such marriages do less to “further the state’s interest” in the procreation of its residents.

KUT News

In February, a U.S. district judge in San Antonio ruled that Texas’ gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia didn’t allow gay couples to marry right away, however. He issued a stay on his ruling pending an appeal from the state.

Next, three judges at the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments from both sides in this case challenging the same-sex marriage ban in Texas.

flickr.com/madhausfrau

Two same-sex couples here in Texas are asking a federal court to lift a stay on its ruling against the state’s ban on same-sex marriage

Texas for Marriage

Gay-rights advocacy organizations Freedom to Marry and Equality Texas are teaming up to build support for same sex marriage in Texas.

Their campaign is called Texas for Marriage. It’s a grassroots effort to get volunteers in Texas spreading support for same-sex marriage – including Republicans.

Liang Shi for KUT

It's that time of the biennium.

The 84th Texas Legislature is just a few short months away, and state lawmakers are already filing their bills for the first Rick Perry-less session this side of the millennium. So far, the bills include legislative pet projects like texting and driving bans, open carry initiatives and tax cuts. Other proposals target tougher statewide issues like transportation funding and state budgeting.

You can find a roundup of issues that state lawmakers are considering below.

photo courtesy Bobak Ha'Eri

Two couples challenging Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage are telling a federal appeals court that the ban, in their words, “defies logic."

In February, a federal judge in San Antonio struck down the voter-approved ban, but the state has appealed.

San Antonio attorney Neel Lane with Akin Gump represents the plaintiffs challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. In written arguments to the appeals court filed yesterday [read PDF version of brief], he reiterates the claim that the ban is unconstitutional.

flickr.com/us006409

Mark McKinnon is best known as a longtime advisor for President George W. Bush, but recently he’s been taking a surprisingly liberal stance on a popular topic – gay marriage. In opposition to many of his GOP compatriots, McKinnon has been campaigning to bring same sex marriage to the Lone Star State. The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with McKinnon on his stance and how he plans to go about it.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office filed a brief on Monday arguing that Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage is constitutionally sound and a matter for voters, not courts, to decide. 

The brief was filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the state is appealing a state district court judge’s February ruling that the ban is unconstitutional. The case pits two same-sex couples against Gov. Rick Perry, state Health Commissioner David Lakey and Abbott, who is also the Republican nominee for governor.

The ruling this week calling Texas' ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional prompted plenty of reaction from politicos.

One of the lesser-known politicians to sound off: Dana DeBeauvoir. As Travis County Clerk, she's decidedly downballot of the state's top races. But DeBeauvoir is also uniquely affected by the decision, since the county clerk's office is responsible for issuing marriage licenses in Austin and Travis County.

When the ruling was announced, DeBeauvoir offered a ringing endorsement:

“Because of the stay order in the ruling, the County Clerk cannot issue marriage licenses to gay couples at this time. This is a joyous day, but we will have to wait a little longer to actually deliver the justice and equal rights gay couples so deserve.” 

Tyler Pratt for KUT News

A federal judge in San Antonio has declared the Texas ban on same-sex marriage in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Today, Judge Orlando Garcia granted a motion for a preliminary injunction enjoining the state of Texas from enforcing the ban. However, the ruling is on hold until Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appeals the decision to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Update: Travis Co. Clerk Says It's 'A Joyous Day'

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, whose office issues marriage licenses, is fielding questions on what today's ruling means for gay couples wanting to marry. Although the ruling finds Texas' same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, the decision is on hold pending appeal.  

DeBeauvoir released a written statement this afternoon lauding the decision: “Because of the stay order in the ruling, the County Clerk cannot issue marriage licenses to gay couples at this time. This is a joyous day, but we will have to wait a little longer to actually deliver the justice and equal rights gay couples so deserve.” 

Update: Wendy Davis 'Pleased' With Ruling

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is "pleased" with today's ruling.

A national same-sex marriage rights group has launched an effort across several states in the South to campaign for marriage equality.

Southerns for Freedom to Marry, a branch of the New York-based group Freedom to Marry, has mounted a $1 million campaign across nine states including Texas.

Attorney General Eric Holder has for the first time directed Justice Department employees to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent under the law," a move with far-ranging consequences for how such couples are treated in federal courtrooms and proceedings.

New Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that same-sex marriage is legal, validating initiatives in several counties allowing the practice in the absence of a specific state law.

The ruling on Thursday means that New Mexico joins 16 states and the District of Columbia in allowing gay marriage.

The Associated Press says:

Any day now, the New Mexico Supreme Court may grant same-sex couples the right to get married.

At this point, such a ruling may not seem like such a big deal. Prior to last year's elections, gays and lesbians had a civil right to marry in only six states. Now, they have it in 16.

"This year represented the true tipping point," says Eric Marcus, author of Making Gay History. "We've reached a moment in history where it's very difficult, if not impossible, to go back."

Texas Supreme Court Weighs Same-Sex Divorce Cases

Nov 5, 2013
Morguefile/flickr

Update: Two same-sex divorce cases are now in the hands of the nine Texas Supreme Court justices to decide. Today they heard oral arguments on whether Texas can grant these couples a divorce. 

In 2005, a majority of Texans voted to ban gay marriage. But now, the Texas Supreme Court must decide whether litigation involving two gay couples who wed in Massachusetts – one based in Austin, the other in Dallas – can get divorced in Texas.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has directed the National Guard Bureau to resolve a dispute that is making it difficult for same-sex couples to receive military benefits.

The Pentagon started to recognize same-sex marriages soon after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act this summer. But some states are resisting.

Former President George H.W. Bush's presence as a witness and guest at the marriage of two women in Maine last weekend is being treated by some as his quiet endorsement of same-sex marriage.

flickr.com/texasmilitaryforces

Update: Sixteen Democratic state lawmakers have signed a letter asking the head of Texas Military Forces to process benefits claims for same-sex spouses.

“We call on you to respect Texas’ military families, to reconsider your position, and to follow the lead of virtually every other Adjutant General for the National Guard of the United States by, without further delay, enrolling all eligible spouses of National Guard service members at facilities operated by Texas Military Force,” the letter reads.

Tyler Pratt/KUT News

A citywide debate over whether lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals should be included in San Antonio’s non-discrimination policy came to a fiery end on Thursday.

Before a crowd of hundreds at City Hall, the San Antonio City Council adopted an ordinance aimed at preventing discrimination against people because of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Tyler Pratt, KUT News

Update: The U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on two same-sex marriage cases today means those unions will now be recognized by the federal government. In separate cases, the court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and the state of California can now resume efforts to legalize same sex marriage.

But neither of these rulings will directly affect Texas residents. 

“The ruling today was limited in the sense it didn’t extend to strike down defense of marriage acts that exist on state level," says Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas.

Texas’ own Defense Against Marriage Act will remain on the books. Gov. Rick Perry signed the law in 2003.  In 2005, the state legislature also passed a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. If that amendment were repealed, it would need two-thirds approval by the state House and Senate. It would then go to voters for final approval. 

Same sex marriage is legal in 12 states and the District of Columbia. 

There's no big news again today from the U.S. Supreme Court — which is sort-of big news in itself because it means we're still waiting for the justices' decisions on these major cases:

-- Fisher v. University of Texas, a key test of affirmative action in higher education.

(We most recently updated the top of this post at 1:45 p.m. ET.)

There seem to be four solid votes on the Supreme Court — and possibly a fifth — to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages, NPR's Nina Totenberg told us after Wednesday's oral arguments before the nine justices.

But there's a big "if."

As in: There's possibly a 5-vote majority to strike down the law if the court first decides it should even issue an opinion.

Tyler Pratt for KUT News

The U.S. Supreme Court continues its examination of same-sex marriage today, taking up arguments in one part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Yesterday, as the court took a look at Proposition 8 – the constitutional ban on gay marriage in California– two rallies hit the Texas State Capitol: one to promote traditional values and another to support same-sex marriage.

As we wait for the Supreme Court to convene again at 10 a.m. ET and begin the second of two historic days of oral arguments focusing on legal issues surrounding same-sex marriage, there's a natural question:

Did Day 1 — a case about California's Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage — tell us much about how the justices will tackle Wednesday's case?

NPR's Nina Totenberg told us Tuesday that the short answer is no.

(Our most recent update was at 12:50 p.m. ET.)

When Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman recently reversed his stance on gay marriage after his son came out as gay, he joined a tidal wave of Americans who have altered their views on the subject.

Bobby Blanchard / KUT News

Members and supports of Equality Texas, a lobbying group that advocates for LGBTQ rights in Texas, are spending their Monday lobbying at the state Capitol.

More than 20 anti-discrimination and pro-LGBTQ bills have been filed in the 83rd Legislative Session, and more than 500 advocates spent their Monday having “face-to-face” conversations with lawmakers about these bills and the rights they would guarantee.

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