The Dallas Morning News is reporting that United States District Judge Orlando Garcia has ruled that Texas' ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Both the Texas Family Code and Texas State Constitution ban same-sex marriage. The article cites the judge's decision:
“Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” he said in his order. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.” Lawyers arguing for the State said that the legislature and the citizens of Texas had chosen to "preserve the traditional definition of marriage." It appears the judge was not swayed by that argument. Judge Garcia "acknowledged his ruling would be far from the final say on the matter" the DMN reports. It is likely that the Supreme Court will decide the issue by ruling on this case (or one of the 22 similar cases in other states) in the future.
Personally, I'm not surprised by this ruling. Recently, federal courts in Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah and other states have struck down various state-level same-sex marriage bans. These cases are a direct result of the U.S. Supreme Court's U.S. v. Windsor decision. In Windsor, the Court struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that restricted the federal definition of "marriage" and "spouse" to heterosexual unions was descriminatory and violated the Fifth Amendment.
The judge has stayed his ruling from taking effect until the ruling can be reviewed on appeal. So how does this ruling effect Texans?
Right now, nothing has changed. Same-sex couples are still prohibited from obtaining a marriage license. It is likely that the State will appeal the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Read the whole article here, it also has a copy of the Judge's ruling attached.