One married couple, residents of Austin, Texas, who tied the knot in Massachusetts in 2009 and challenged the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas when they discovered “they could not both be listed on the birth certificate of their first child.” Now, with their case heading to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit this month, Ms. De Leon, Ms. Dimetman, gay rights advocates, and every adoption attorney in San Antonio fighting for the rights of same-sex couples are hoping that “Texas is on the verge” of being compelled to join “the almost three-quarters of the country that now allows same-sex marriage.”
Texas, a staunchly conservative state whose voters have consistently chosen Republican representation which has reinforced and supported the same-sex marriage ban in the rapidly changing climate elsewhere in the U.S., is definitely not going the way of change on this issue without a fight. Any adoption attorney in San Antonio representing same-sex couples knows what they’re up against: newly elected Gov. Greg Abbot has stepped into an office that has “argued that the courts should respect a state’s sovereignty and not overrule Texas voters, 75 percent of whom voted in 2005 to define marriage in the state’s Constitution as ‘solely the union of one man and one woman,” after defending the ban as Texas Attorney General.
But gay rights advocates are hopeful, and think that Texas may in fact be ready for such a change. In San Antonio last year, Federal District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that the state’s ban is unconstitutional in its violation of equal rights and due process. And even while the state appealed and the case is working its way up the courts, Garcia’s original ruling may have a bigger, longer lasting impact than resisting conservatives want to acknowledge. Something adoption attorney in San Antonio Micah McBride would be aware of, alongside every other family lawyer in the state, is the momentum in rulings across the nation that are potentially precedent setting for this case.
“Many legal experts consider it unlikely that the Supreme Court will uphold same-sex marriage bans…allowing same-sex marriage to stand in five states” already last year. And while Judge Garcia has refused to lift the stay on same-sex marriages during the appellate process of the case, plaintiffs pursuing equal rights in same-sex marriages are convinced that their day is just around the corner.
Texans aren’t so sure, however. Even a hopeful adoption attorney in San Antonio like Mr. McBride knows that the conservative Texas legislature and administrative officers, now with “an even wider margin of control,” will resist with every legal means available to them. Texas may be considered the last stronghold of conservative values, and maybe on this issue it will eventually fall, but be assured it will go down swinging. It’s the largest and most politically powerful state in the union that still bans same-sex marriage, and even while there are conflicting reports on voter and citizen support on the issue, the fact remains that voters chose leaders like Gov. Abbot, who will certainly do their best to keep same-sex couples’ names off their children’s birth certificates for as long as they’re able.