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Marriage Equality

Texas: Cops, Clergy Come Out in Support of Same-Sex Couples

Texas: Cops, Clergy Come Out in Support of Same-Sex Couples


Texas law enforcement officials, clergy, business owners, and first responders are showing support for marriage equality.

Hundreds of leaders in law enforcement, religion, and business came out in support of marriage equality through a series of amicus, or friend of the court, briefs filed this week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which will hear a case involving the issue in the next few months.

Police officers and first responders pointed out that they carry out the law without bias in a state that shows bias to same-sex couples. "Gay and lesbian law enforcement officers and other first responders put on their uniforms, place themselves in harm's away to protect and defend our communities, and swear to uphold our laws without prejudice and bias," reads the brief filed by the Sheriff Adrian Garcia of Harris County (which includes Houston), and Sheriff Lupe Valdez of Dallas County, and numerous other law enforcement officials.

The case for marriage equality in Texas has endured a lengthy fight to the appeals court. In February, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia struck down the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas, ruling in a lawsuit filed in October of last year.

A group of clergy led by Episcopal bishop Scott Mayer also filed an amicus brief supporting same-sex couples. The religious leaders argue that same-sex couples should receive the same treatment as their heterosexual counterparts in the civil sphere. They point out that in states where same-sex marriage has been legalized, it has not affected anyone but the couples who are now free to marry.

"Eliminating discrimination in civil marriages will not impinge upon religious doctrine or practice," reads the clergy brief. "All religions would remain free -- as they are today with 19 states and the District of Columbia permitting same-sex couples to marry -- to define religious marriage an way they choose."

Jonathan Saenz, the president of the conservative group Texas Values, filed a brief in August calling for the support of the Texas marriage ban. Saenz told The Texas Tribune that he is thankful for the first responders but reiterated that marriage should remain an opposite-gender union only.

"Strong families are founded on the ideal of a lifelong marriage of one man and one woman, and are firmly committed to preserving marriage as an institution inherently linked to procreation and child-rearing, one that connects children to their mothers and fathers, for the good of children and society as a whole," reads the Texas Values brief.

You can check out other briefs here.

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