The Gaily News:Federal judge slams Texas' gay marriage ban

Texas is the latest state to take on the fight for gay marriage.

A federal judge in the Lone Star State has struck down Texas’ same-sex marriage ban, deeming the prohibitive measure unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia then immediately stayed his decision because of the likelihood that anti-gay rights groups will appeal.

In his ruling, Garcia wrote:

Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution. These Texas laws deny Plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex.

The state’s gay marriage ban was challenged by two couples — one that wished to marry in Texas, the other seeking to have their marriage, which was performed in Massachusetts, recognized.

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• Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial religious-protection bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to LGBT individuals if they felt it violated their religious beliefs.

The State’s Legislature passed the bill into law last week. But after reviewing the legislation when it landed on her desk, Brewer called it divisive and “broadly worded.” Her veto, she said, is “the right decision” for Arizona after speaking with “attorneys, lawmakers and citizens supporting and opposing the legislation.

At a press conference, she said:

Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated. The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences … To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes. However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want. Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination.

Arizona isn’t the only state that’s considered such a bill.

Missouri and Georgia are currently mulling over similar religious-protection bills, while earlier in the month the Kansas Senate nixed such a law. But it’s already legal in Pennsylvania for someone to be refused employment or public accommodation based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, however, said if such a bill crossed his desk, he would veto it because it seems like an "unnecessary" law.

• Boston’s Mayor Martin Walsh is pushing organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day parade to allow gay groups to participate. If they don’t, he said, he’ll boycott the event that draws about one million spectators to South Boston each year.

Walsh is attempting to broker a deal with the parade to allow a group of gay military veterans to march.

“Equality comes first,” he said. “The fact that it’s 2014, I certainly hope we’re able to come to an understanding.”

But parade organizer John “Wacko” Hurley said “definitely not” to the suggestion.

The issue went to court about two decades ago, and in 1995, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the parade, 9-0, allowing organizers to exclude LGBT groups from the event.

Hurley said Walsh isn’t “in a position to overturn” the Supreme Court’s ruling.

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