Same-Sex Marriage Fight Spreads to Texas

     DALLAS (CN) – Two men were arrested Thursday after they refused to leave the Dallas County Clerk’s office and handcuffed themselves to protest the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
     Beau Chandler and Mark Jiminez, both of Dallas, applied for a marriage license Thursday afternoon and were rejected by the clerk’s staff. So they sat on the floor and handcuffed themselves together, blocking the roped-off line into the office.
     Dallas County sheriff’s deputies arrested them after they refused to leave when the building closed for the day. Both men posted bail and were released Thursday night.
     “Our bond was set at $500 each and when we walked out of jail after posting our bond, we were greeted with money to help defray the cost that was just collected in the past couple of hours,” Jiminez said on Facebook shortly after his release. “I see that I have 400 emails to go through, and I will read every one.”
     They were ordered to appear in court on Aug. 2, Jiminez said.
     It was a rare protest in conservative Texas, whose voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2005.
     In October 2009, state Judge Tena Callahan ruled that the ban violated equal protection guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. The ruling came in a case of a gay Dallas couple who married in Massachusetts and sought a divorce in Texas.
     In August 2010, Texas’ 5th Court of Appeals, in Dallas, reversed Callahan’s ruling. The appeal court ruled that the law did not violate equal protection rights and that “the state has a legitimate interest in promoting the raising of children in the optimal familial setting. It is reasonable for the state to conclude that the optimal familial setting for the raising of children is the household headed by an opposite-sex couple.”
     The appeals court also ruled that state district courts lack jurisdiction to hear divorce cases from same-sex couples married in foreign jurisdictions.

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