A Texas judge on Tuesday declared
unconstitutional the state's ban on gay marriage.
According to the Austin
American-Statesman, Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman
recognized the marriage of a lesbian couple as part of an estate
Sonemaly Phrasavath of Austin asked
Herman to recognize her eight-year relationship to Stella Powell, who
died of cancer in June without a valid will, as a common-law
In 2008, the women, who had been living
together for a year, exchanged vows in a ceremony performed by a Zen
priest. The marriage, however, is not recognized under Texas law.
Two of Powell's siblings are fighting
Phrasavath over the estate.
“It was never about property rights
or about property,” Phrasavath said. “It was about standing up
for my relationship and my marriage.”
“I can't imagine anyone being married
for 6 or 7 years, then having to walk away after losing their spouse
and feel like the marriage never happened.”
Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir
called Herman's ruling “a step in the right direction” but
declined to say whether her office would begin issuing marriage
licenses to gay couples.
A federal judge declared Texas' ban
unconstitutional roughly a year ago. Officials appealed the decision
to an appeals court, which heard oral arguments in January.
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