Friday, October 2, 2009

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Believes State's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Will Hold

UPDATE 2: Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council throws a tantrum over the ruling.

UPDATE: Read legal commentary on the ruling.

In reaction to Thursday's ruling by District Judge Tena Callahan that Texas' ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, Gov. Rick Perry, who pushed for the amendment in 2005, responded with confidence that the ban will weather the challenge.

"Texas voters and lawmakers have repeatedly affirmed the view that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman," he said in a prepared statement. "I believe the ruling is flawed and should be appealed. I am confident that Attorney General Abbott and the will of Texas voters will prevail, and traditional marriage will be upheld in our state."

The case in front of Judge Callahan was whether or not Texas would hear divorce proceeding on two men who legally married in Massachusetts in 2006 and had been together for 11 years.

"My client is ready to get on with his life," Dallas attorney Peter Schulte said, who represents one of the men who will only be identified as J.B. He argued that his client has the right to divorce under the U.S. Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause.

Abbott dismissed the argument, saying saying the clause "does not require Texas courts to recognize or give legal effect to marriages between persons of the same sex under the laws of other jurisdictions."

If the ruling were to stand, it would be a break from recent decisions elsewhere.

The Dallas Morning News reports:
In March 2003, a Texas court became the first one outside Vermont to grant the dissolution of a civil union. The judge reversed his decision after a challenge by Abbott, a Republican."


In a court filing, Schulte challenged the state's opposition, saying its arguments were an attempt to "mislead this court in an effort to pursue the attorney general's own political agenda."

He cited wording in the state Family Code that "the law of this state applies to persons married elsewhere who are domiciled in this state. And he noted that "Black's Law Dictionary defines a person as a 'human being.'"
It was the section of the Family Code the denied recognition of same-sex unions and the benefits of law that Callahan deemed unconstitutional.

Shulte wrote that the Texas "is obviously confused or worried that the court, by granting this divorce, would somehow open the floodgates for same-sex marriages to occur in the state. A divorce clearly ends a marriage.

"If a divorce is granted in the case, the court is NOT creating, recognizing or validating a marriage between persons of the same sex; rather the effect of a divorce immediately ends a marriage, which furthers the 'public policy' of this state as written in the Family Code."

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