Texas District Judge Rules Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional
Great news out of Texas! State District Judge Barbara Nellermoe has found Texas's same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional, which will allow a San Antonio gay couple's divorce and child custody proceedings to move forward.
(Okay, so the whole divorce and child custody thing is a bummer, but the ruling against the same-sex marriage ban is a silver lining!)
Judge Barbara Nellermoe, in a ruling released Tuesday, pinpointed three portions of the Texas Family Code as unconstitutional, as well as Section 32 of the Texas Constitution.
Nellermoe wrote that “in a well-reasoned opinion by Judge Orlando Garcia, the federal district court found that a state cannot do what the federal government cannot — that is, it cannot discriminate against same-sex couples.”
The latest ruling comes in response to a same-sex divorce lawsuit that was filed in Bexar County in February by Allison Leona Flood Lesh and Kristi Lyn Lesh, who were married in Washington, D.C., in August 2010.
Kristi Lesh became pregnant through artificial insemination during the marriage and gave birth Feb. 19, 2013. Her attorney argued that because Allison Flood Lesh isn't the biological or adoptive parent, Kristi Lesh should retain sole custody. Allison Flood Lesh is seeking to split custody of the child.
Legally in states that don't recognize same-sex marriages, the birth parent is considered the only legal parent of a child born to a same-sex couple.
Judge Nellermoe has ruled that that's unconstitutional, writing:
“By denying their parents the right to marry, Texas has created a suspect classification of children who are denied equal protection of the law under the Fourteenth Amendment."
Judge Nellermoe's ruling will not strike down Texas's same-sex marriage ban, but it's yet another victory as Texas heads towards marriage equality.
(H/T: LGBTQ Nation)