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Texas' prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process. Texas' current marriage laws deny homosexual couples the right to marry, and in doing so, demean their dignity for no legitimate reason. Accordingly, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas finds these laws are unconstitutional and preliminarily enjoins Texas' ban on same-sex marriage
The plaintiffs in the instant case were two couples who either desire to marry in Texas or were legally married in another state and now wish to have their same-sex marriage recognized in Texas. They challenged the Texas’ prohibition on same-sex marriage, set forth in Article I, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution and corresponding provisions of the Texas Family Code, arguing that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violated their rights to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Accordingly, plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction enjoining defendants from enforcing Section 32, and a declaratory judgment that Texas' ban on same-sex marriage and Texas' failure to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages was unconstitutional.
Should the defendants be enjoined from enforcing Article I, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution and the corresponding provisions of the Texas Family Code which prohibited same-sex marriage?
The court granted the preliminary injunction, holding that the plaintiffs established a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of an equal protection and due process challenge because there was no legitimate government purpose served by these laws. According to the court, the plaintiffs established that Texas' refusal to recognize legal out-of-state same-sex marriages violated equal protection and due process since it lacked a rational basis, and that the denial of their constitutional rights constituted irreparable harm. The court held that the balance of equities favored injunctive relief because otherwise the couples would continue to suffer discrimination and the attached stigma. The court concluded that preventing enforcement of an unconstitutional law served the public interest.