Love prevails and that is good.

Congratulations and best wishes to Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant who were married by their rabbi yesterday in Austin, TX, despite a state ban on same-sex marriages. Many thanks to Judge Orlando Garcia of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas who struck down the state ban on same-sex marriages last year because it violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. His order was stayed pending an appeal by the State of Texas to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.

Thanks also to Travis County District Court Judge David Wahlberg, who courageously ordered the Travis County clerk not to rely on “the unconstitutional Texas prohibitions against same-sex marriage as a basis for not issuing a marriage license.” He issued the order despite the stay of Judge Garcia’s order  because Sarah Goodfriend underwent surgery and chemotherapy last year for ovarian cancer and her health is uncertain. The couple has been together for 30 years and raised two daughters. If one were to be hospitalized with a life-threatening condition while they were not married, the other would have no say in medical decisions.

When he heard about the marriage yesterday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed to the Texas Supreme Court asking it to issue an order voiding the marriage. Raw Story reports that he said,

“The law of Texas has not changed, and will not change due to the whims of any individual judge or county clerk operating on their own capacity anywhere in Texas.”

The Texas Supreme Court did not issue an order voiding the marriage. Instead it issued a one-sentence order banning same-sex marriages until the United States Supreme Court decides the issue later this year. The SCOTUS is widely expected to rule that prohibitions of same-sex marriages violate the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Los Angeles Times reports,

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott [of Texas] released a statement emphasizing that the state Constitution “defines marriage as consisting ‘only of the union of one man and one woman.'” He promised he was “committed to ensuring that the Texas Constitution is upheld and the rule of law is maintained.”

With apologies to birds everywhere, he and Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court appear to be birds-of-a-feather who flock together in the sense that they believe state’s rights trump the Supremacy Clause in the United States Constitution.

So did George Wallace and we know how that ended.


Frederick Leatherman

Frederick Leatherman

I am a former law professor and felony criminal defense lawyer who practiced in state and federal courts for 30 years specializing in death penalty cases, forensics, and drug cases.

I taught criminal law, criminal procedure, law and forensics, and trial advocacy for three years after retiring from my law practice.

I also co-founded Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW) at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle and recruited 40 lawyers who agreed to work pro bono, assisted by law students, representing 17 innocent men and women wrongfully convicted of sexually abusing their children in the notorious Wenatchee Sex Ring witch-hunt prosecutions during the mid 90s. All 17 were freed from imprisonment.

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