Thursday, February 27, 2014

Equality comes to Texas

Yes, really:

A federal judge on Wednesday declared Texas’ ban on gay marriage unconstitutional but left the ban in place while an appeals court considers the matter.

The judge, Orlando Garcia of U.S. District Court in San Antonio, wrote that the state’s marriage laws demean the dignity of gay couples “for no legitimate reason.”

“Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution,” the judge wrote.

When we've won in Texas, the heart of American bigotry, we've really won. The principle of marriage equality is now unstoppable, just as racial equality was 50 years ago. There'll be more cases, to force implementation and iron out the details, but its all over bar the shouting.

Unfortunately, the bigots are retreating further into hate. Their latest tactic? Legalising discrimination against gays. Its not state action, so much as state inaction - a withdrawal from its role as the enforcer of a fair society. And that is going to make it difficult to challenge in court. It does make it clear that the US needs far better federal anti-discrimination laws - and I expect that to go to the top of the Democrats' agenda.