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Federal Judge Orlando L. Garcia threw out Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday, writing, “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution.” But gay Texans will have to remain patient for now.

Garcia issued a stay pending appeal, meaning the legal process must play out before citizens of the Lone Star State are free to marry.

A plaintiff in the case, Nicole Dimetman, was prevented from adopting her wife’s son because the couple was wed in Massachusetts and Texas refused to recognize the marriage.

Although the ruling will undoubtedly face appeal, there have been a wave of pro-gay-marriage decisions in courts across the country since the Supreme Court ended California’s ban on same-sex unions.

The logic is usually the same: There is not reasonable purpose to prevent loving couples from seeking formal recognition of their commitment to one another. It is naked discrimination.

The New York Times:

While significant, Judge Garcia’s ruling will have no immediate effect on gay and lesbian couples wishing to marry in Texas. The judge issued a stay on his decision pending a likely appeal by the state’s lawyers to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, which is known as one of the country’s s most conservative appeals panels.

State officials quickly criticized the ruling. “The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled over and over again that states have the authority to define and regulate marriage,” the Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott, said in a statement. “The Texas Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman. If the Fifth Circuit honors those precedents, then today’s decision should be overturned and the Texas Constitution will be upheld.”

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— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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