AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott says the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is in the state’s interest because it reduces out-of-wedlock” births.
In a brief Friday filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Abbott says legalizing same-sex marriage would would do little or nothing to encourage heterosexual couples to get married and have children, reports The Houston Chronicle.
But despite that assertion, Abbott tells the court he “is not required to show that recognizing same-sex marriage will undermine heterosexual marriage,” noting that “it is enough if one could rationally speculate that opposite-sex marriages will advance some state interest to a greater extent than same-sex marriages will.”
“First, Texas’s marriage laws are rationally related to the State’s interest in encouraging couples to produce new offspring, which are needed to ensure economic growth and the survival of the human race,” Abbott wrote.
“Second, Texas’s marriage laws are rationally related to the State’s interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births. By channeling procreative heterosexual intercourse into marriage, Texas’s marriage laws reduce unplanned out-of-wedlock births and the costs that those births impose on society. Recognizing same-sex marriage does not advance this interest because same-sex unions do not result in pregnancy.”
Abbott concedes that same-sex marriage might have some positive effects, such as providing a more stable environment for children raised by gay couples. But he said, it’s for the Legislature, not the courts, to decide whether to expand the right to marry.
Texas’ same-sex marriage ban was struck down by a federal judge last February, but the ruling has been on hold pending appeal.
Article continues belowAbbott, who is leading the fight against a the ruling, said in a gubernatorial debate against Democrat Wendy Davis in Dallas last month that he opposes same-sex marriage because he’s been married to his wife for more than 33 years.
In the coming months, the 5th Circuit will consider cases from Louisiana and Texas.
The appeals court, which has jurisdiction over federal courts in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, is one of a handful of circuits that have yet ruled on the issue since the Supreme Court ruled last year that the federal government had to recognize marriages performed in states where gay marriage is legal.