A federal judge on Friday declined to
lift a stay on a ruling striking down Texas' ban on gay marriage.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia
declared the ban invalid in February. The Fifth Circuit Court of
Appeals is set to review an appeal in the case next month.
Garcia said that lifting the stay now
and allowing gay couples to marry would only be temporary and cause
Plaintiff couples Cleopatra De Leon and
Nicole Dimetman of Austin and Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano
asked Garcia to allow his ruling to take effect immediately.
“These delays are harming not just
us, but they are harming hundreds of thousands of other gays in
Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana,” Phariss
said Friday. “Vic and I are deeply in love. We've been
together more than 17 years. We filed to get married 14 months ago.
We filed the lawsuit 12 months ago. And we won 10 months ago. How
much longer do we have to wait?”
Garcia said in his ruling that lifting
the stay would only bring temporary relief; the Fifth Circuit, which
recently stayed a similar ruling from Mississippi, would most likely
respond with its own stay.
“Lifting the stay would not bring
finality to this Fourteenth Amendment claim,” Garcia wrote in his
ruling. “To the contrary, such action would only be temporary,
with confusion and doubt to follow. The day for finality and legal
certainty in the long and difficult journey for equality is closer
than ever before.”
Neel Lane, one of the lawyers
representing the plaintiffs, responded: “Our clients are eager for
marriage equality to come to Texas, and it looks like Judge Garcia is
too, but he felt his hands were tied by the Fifth Circuit's recent
ruling in the Mississippi case.”