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Judge: Any state law involving marriage must comply with Constitution
Catholic News Service

SAN ANTONIO — A U.S. District Court judge Feb. 26 struck down a Texas constitutional amendment that defined marriage as being only between one man and one woman.

Judge Orlando Garcia also said it was unconstitutional for the state not to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states.

Garcia put his decision on hold until it can be appealed.

The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by two gay couples against the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, which had been in place since 2005.

One of the couples who sued was wed in Massachusetts and wants Texas to recognize the marriage. The other gay couple wants to get married in Texas.

"Regulation of marriage has traditionally been the province of the states and remains so today," Garcia wrote in the 48-page ruling. "However, any state law involving marriage or any other protected interest must comply with the United States Constitution."

The Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage. It upholds the sanctity of traditional marriage, between one man and one woman, and also teaches that any sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful.

In a recent blog posting, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said that  challenges to state laws in federal courts have made it clear that "the marriage debate we are having in this country is not about access to the right of marriage, but the very meaning of marriage."

The day after Garcia handed down his decision, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II in Louisville, Ky., issued an order instructing Kentucky officials to immediately recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

AP reported that Heyburn's order has no effect on a suit filed Feb. 14 by a Kentucky couple suing to force the state to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, February 28, 2014
Article comment by: Chuck Anziulewicz

As someone who believes very strongly in marriage equality for gay couples, I need to point out that the federal government has complicated the issue more than anyone. While it is true that the Constitution says nothing about marriage, there are 1,138 legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities (according to the Government Accounting Office) that the federal government automatically bestows on married couples. Much of this has to do with tax law and Social Security. So it simply wouldn't do for a gay couple that is legally married in Iowa to suddenly become UN-married if they move someplace else.

Straight couples have never had to jump through these kinds of hoops. Thanks to the "Full Faith & Credit" clause, if any straight couple flies off to Las Vegas for a drunken weekend and gets married by an Elvis impersonator, that marriage is automatically honored in all 50 states. Gay couples, however, are held to a different (and hence unconstitutional) legal standard.

The only way marriage can be a "States Rights" issue is for the federal government to get out of the marriage business completely, and do away with the 1,138 benefits it grants to married couples. Tell me how thrilled most married couples would be with THAT.

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