Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott argues in a brief filed late Monday in a case before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that Texas' gay marriage ban is not discriminatory because it treats all couples the same.

Texas' marriage laws should not “receive heightened scrutiny because they do not classify based on sexual orientation,” Abbott argues in the 54-page brief. “All persons in Texas – regardless of sexual orientation – are subject to the same definition of marriage, and the plaintiffs are as free to marry an opposite-sex spouse as anyone else in the State. And all persons in Texas – regardless of their sexual orientation – are ineligible to marry a same-sex spouse. A law that applies equally to everyone does not discriminate or deny 'equal protection' simply because some group of people wants to violate it.”

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia struck down Texas' ban in February, saying it demeans the dignity of gay couples for no legitimate reason.

Abbott, a gubernatorial candidate, disagreed, arguing that the prohibition promotes responsible procreation among heterosexual couples, and thus helps reduce “societal costs.”

“Because same-sex relationships do not naturally produce children, recognizing same-sex marriage does not further these goals to the same extent that recognizing opposite-sex marriage does,” he wrote.

Abbott argued that by recognizing the childless unions of opposite-sex couples, the state was encouraging other heterosexual couples to marry.

“By recognizing and encouraging the lifelong commitment between a man and woman – even when they do not produce offspring – the state encourages others who will procreate to enter into the marriage relationship.”

The court has yet to schedule oral arguments.