Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott argues in a brief filed Friday in a case before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans that Texas' gay marriage ban promotes “responsible procreation.”

“First, Texas's marriage laws are rationally related to the State's interest in encouraging couples to produce new offspring, which are needed to ensure economic growth and the survival of the human race,” Abbott wrote in a 36-page brief.

“Second, Texas’s marriage laws are rationally related to the State’s interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births. By channeling procreative heterosexual intercourse into marriage, Texas’s marriage laws reduce unplanned out-of-wedlock births and the costs that those births impose on society.” “Recognizing same-sex marriage does not advance this interest because same-sex unions do not result in pregnancy,” he added.

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

While Abbott, the Republican nominee for governor, concedes that allowing gay couples to marry might provide some benefits to society, the decision to recognize such unions, he argues, should be made by lawmakers, not judges.

The Fifth Circuit Court last week agreed to a request made by a plaintiff couple to expedite the case. Married couple Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra DeLeon are expecting their second child in March and hope a victory would help them establish parental rights.

The court said that the same 3-judge panel would hear cases challenging bans in Texas and Louisiana within the next couple of months. The Fifth Circuit also includes Mississippi.