On April 14th, a federal judge passed a ruling that Ohio must recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states. U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black ordered a stay of his decision to allow both sides to file legal briefs. This ruling could impact marriage in every state law, including taxes, bereavement and spousal privileges. The voter-approved constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is still enforced.
Texas is in the same holding pattern after U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, stating that the ban “violates plaintiffs’ equal protection and due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States constitution.” Other same-sex marriage cases are pending across the state.
Texas is the latest Republican state where a federal judge ruled against same-sex marriage bans. On February 26, 2014, the state filed an appeal set to go before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Attorney General Greg Abbott, one of the defendants along with Rick Perry and David Lakey, is confident the ruling will be overturned and “the Texas constitution will be upheld.” Abbott’s possible opponent in the upcoming gubernatorial election, State Senator Wendy Davis, supports same-sex marriage.
Equality activists are pushing for LGBTQ legal protections in federal and Texas state courts. Contesting the constitutional ban and want recognition of out of state marriages and same-sex divorces. Opponents cite the issue is best left to the voters. In 2005, 76 percent of the Texas population voted the amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman. However, a recent national poll shows 55 percent of the United States support same-sex marriage, with the highest percentage among young adults, aged between 18 and 29.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s U.S. v. Windsor ruling federally recognizes all marriages performed in the 17 states allowing same-sex marriage. Currently, 33 states have marriage restrictions with over 57 lawsuits in 27 of those states and Puerto Rico. Texas is on the list of states with stays for appeals: Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Virginia and Utah. In Michigan, over 300 marriage licenses were issued on March 21st, before the U.S. 6th Court of Appeals ordered a stay a day later. The federal government announced on March 28th that it will recognize those same-sex marriages performed before the stay was issued.