Same-sex marriage could soon become legal in the state of Texas, and if it does, hundreds of same-sex couples are expected to rush to local courthouses to wed. However, at this point there is no telling if and when the gay marriage ban will be lifted.
Several same-sex couples have filed suit against the state arguing that the marriage ban is unconstitutional. Some of the couples are still together and are fighting for the right to have their relationships legally recognized by the state through marriage.
Among many other reasons, they say the ban causes them to incur unfair legal costs related to adopting children and handling end-of-life medical affairs.
Other couples are no longer together but were married in other states that recognize same-sex marriage and are fighting for the right to end their relationships through divorce. Divorce not only provides closure but also legal protections as a couple addresses issues such as property division, child custody and alimony.
In February, a federal judge agreed that Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. However, the judge issued a stay on the ruling to wait for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to consider his decision first.
The 5th Circuit Court has the case tentatively scheduled for early January.
But on Monday attorneys for the same-sex couples who are appealing the denial of their divorce cases filed a motion asking the federal judge to lift the stay on his ruling, which means same-sex marriages could begin to take effect immediately.
In response, state officials filed a counter-motion, asking the federal judge to keep the stay in place until the 5th Circuit Court issues a decision. State officials argued that the same-sex couples did not have legal standing to ask for the stay to be lifted.
A decision on whether the ban will be immediately lifted should come within the next few days. Otherwise, the appeal before the 5th Circuit Court is set to begin on January 9.
Source: Breitbart.com, “Texas Same-Sex Couples Petition Federal Judge To Remove Stay And Allow Gay Marriage ASAP,” Merrill Hope, Dec. 3, 2014