A federal judge in San Antonio yesterday declared Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

US District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that the state’s ban on gay marriage deprived same-sex couples of due process and equal protection by stigmatizing their relationships and treating them differently than their opposite-sex counterparts. “Tradition, alone, cannot form a rational basis for a law,” he wrote. In his decision, Garcia addressed common tropes against marriage equality, finding that “limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples fails the welfare of children” and that “procreation is not and has never been a qualification for marriage.”

“Today’s court decisions is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas legislature, but in compliance with US Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” Garcia wrote in his decision [PDF], citing the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act was found unconstitutional last June and the growing marriage equality movement across the nation.

Garcia issued a stay on his preliminary injunction against a 2003 law and a 2005 constitutional amendment, meaning no marriages can take place following the ruling. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot – who is running for governor – has said the state will appeal. Texas Democrats, however, celebrated the decision.

“Those in control of this state need to stop fighting the future,” said Texas Senate Democratic Chairman Kirk Watson of Austin. “They must stop governing by fear. They must stop pretending there’s some security blanket in laws that treat others unfairly.”

The case was filed by two Texas couples: two women with a child looking for the state to recognize their out-of-state marriage and two men who wished to marry.

Media Resources: United States District Court Document 73 2/26/14; Dallas News 2/26/2014; The Rachel Maddow Show blog 2/26/14; Feminist Newswire 2/12/14

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