AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday struck down Texas’ ban on gay marriage but postponed action pending appeals in separate courts. Here’s what’s pending in the battle over same-sex marriage in Texas:
—The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
Federal Judge Orlando Garcia decided to give Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott time to appeal his ruling. He did that because the U.S. Supreme Court placed a hold on a similar decision made by a federal court in Utah, which falls under the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans, is considered one of the country’s most conservative courts and might accept Abbott’s argument that the 10th Amendment gives states the right to define marriage.
—Federal Court in Austin
Another gay marriage lawsuit will be heard in Austin, possibly as early as June. Federal Judge Sam Sparks will hear an argument made by a gay couple that the state ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because it discriminates against them based on their gender. The argument is slightly different from the one made before Garcia and could trigger another round of appeals.
—The U.S. Supreme Court
The Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act on June 26 in a case that serves as the basis for Garcia’s decision to overturn the Texas ban on gay marriage. The justices who dissented in the 5-4 decision warned that the majority was clearing the way for gay marriage to become a fundamental right. With so many court decisions coming so quickly, the Supreme Court will likely have to pick one case to hear next year in order to settle the matter.