De Leonv.Abbott

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.Jul 1, 2015
791 F.3d 619 (5th Cir. 2015)

No. 14–50196.

07-01-2015

Cleopatra DE LEON; Nicole Dimetman; Victor Holmes; Mark Phariss, Plaintiffs–Appellees, v. Greg ABBOTT, in His Official Capacity as Governor of the State of Texas; Ken Paxton, in His Official Capacity as Texas Attorney General; Kirk Cole, in His Official Capacity as Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Defendants–Appellants.

Barry Alan Chasnoff, Daniel McNeel Lane, Jr., Esq., Matthew Edwin Pepping, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, L.L.P., Frank Stenger–Castro, San Antonio, TX, Michael P. Cooley, Andrew Forest Newman, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, L.L.P., Dallas, TX, Jessica M. Weisel, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, L.L.P., Los Angeles, CA, for Plaintiffs–Appellees. Scott A. Keller, Solicitor, Jonathan F. Mitchell, Kyle David Highful, Beth Ellen Klusmann, Esq., Michael P. Murphy, Office of the Solicitor General for the State of Texas, James Davis Blacklock, Senior Counsel, Office of General Counsel for the Governor of Texas, Austin, TX, for Defendants–Appellants. Deborah Jane Dewart, Attorney, Swansboro, NC, for Amici Curiae North Carolina Values Coalition and Liberty, Life, and Law Foundation. David Christopher Boyle, Long Beach, CA, for Amici Curiae David Christopher Boyle, Katy Faust, B.N. Klein, Robert Oscar Lopez and Dawn Step Anowicz. Mathew D. Staver, Esq., Anita Leigh Staver, Esq., Maitland, FL, Mary Elizabeth McAlister, Lynchburg, VA, for Amicus Curiae Liberty Counsel. Kevin Trent Snider, Chief Counsel, Sacramento, CA, for Amicus Curiae Paul McHugh. Jon Roy Ker, Esq., Hewitt, TX, for Amicus Curiae Social Science Professors. Thomas Molnar Fisher, Solicitor General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN, for Amici Curiae State of Indiana, State of Alaska, State of Arizona, State of Colorado, State of Idaho, State of Montana, State of Oklahoma, State of South Carolina, State of South Dakota and State of Utah. Robert Smead Hogan, Esq., Hogan Law Firm, P.C., Lubbock, TX, for Amici Curiae Professor Alan J. Hawkins and Professor Jason S. Carroll. Richard Arthur Bordelon, Ralph Joseph Aucoin, Sr., Denechaud & Denechaud, L.L.P., New Orleans, LA, for Amici Curiae United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Association of Evangelicals Church of Jesus Christ Of Latteor–Day Saints, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Lawrence John Joseph, Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae Texas Eagle Forum and Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund. David Robert Nimocks, Esq., Washington, DC, Robert Paul Wilson, San Antonio, TX, for Amici Curiae Texas Values and Louisiana Family Forum. Steven W. Fitschen, Esq., Counsel, National Legal Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA, for Amicus Curiae Concerned Women for America. Dean John Sauer, Clark & Sauer, L.L.C., Saint Louis, MO, for Amicus Curiae 23 Scholars of Federalism and Judicial Restraint. Eric C. Rassbach, Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Stuart Kyle Duncan, Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae State of Louisiana. Steven James Griffin, Esq., Daniel, Coker, Horton & Bell, P.A., Jackson, MS, for Amicus Curiae Helen M. Alvare. William C. Duncan, Lehi, UT, for Amicus Curiae Marriage Law Foundation. Michael Francis Smith, Smith Appellate Law Firm, Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson. Russell Henry Withers, Austin, TX, for Amicus Curiae Texas Conservative Coalition. Cecilia M. Wood, Austin, TX, for Amicus Curiae Center for the Preservation of American Ideals. David Robinson, North Haven, CT, pro se. David Robert Upham, Esq., Irving, TX, pro se. Leif A. Olson, Olson Firm, P.L.L.C., Humble, TX, for Amici Curiae United States Pastor Council and Coalition of African American Pastors. George David Carter, Jr., Arent Fox, L.L.P., Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae Law Enforcement Officers, First Responders, and Organizations. Paul March Smith, Jenner & Block, L.L.P., Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae American Psychological Association, Texas Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, National Association of Social Workers and National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter. Benjamin Gross Shatz, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, L.L.P., Los Angeles, CA, for Amicus Curiae Gary J. Gates. Jyotin Rustom Hamid, Esq., Joseph Benjamin Rome, Debevoise & Plimpton, L.L.P., New York, N.Y., for Amicus Curiae Professor Carlos A. Ball. Rebecca L. Robertson, Attorney, Houston, TX, for Amici Curiae Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Public Interest Organizations Bar Associations, American Civil Liberties Union, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, API Equality LA, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Asian Law Caucus, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles, Human Rights Campaign, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation and National LGBT Bar Association. Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Sullivan & Worcester, L.L.P., for Amicus Curiae GLMA Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality. Kenneth Dale Upton, Jr., Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, Incorporated, Dallas, TX, for Amicus Curiae Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Incorporated. Carmine Daniel Boccuzzi, Jr., Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, L.L.P., New York, N.Y., for Amicus Curiae American Sociological Association. Catherine Emily Stetson, Esq., Hogan Lovells US, L.L.P., Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae, Historians of Antigay Discrimination. Suzanne Beth Goldberg, New York, N.Y., for Amicus Curiae Columbia Law School Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic. Roberta Ann Kaplan, Jacob Harris Hupart, Jaren Elizabeth Janghorbani, Joshua David Kaye, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, L.L.P., New York N.Y., for Amici Curiae Suzanne Bryant, Clinton Chamberlain, Karon Frances Cook, Julie Elliott–Abshire, Stephanie Elliott–Abshire, James Fair Child, III, David M. Garza, Sarah Goodfriend, Martin Harrison, Heather Hauch, John S. Hogg, Thomas Koenig, Kristy Kyle, Noellanduyt, Kristy Noble, Donald Puryear, Christ A. Robbins, Toni Roddey, Gary Schumman, Jason Stark, Angel Valdez and J. Brook Ward. Berrie Rebecca Goldman, San Francisco, CA, Keith Miles Aurzada, Bryan Cave, L.L.P., Dallas, TX, for Amici Curiae Family Equality Council and Colage. Jiyun Cameron Lee, Folger Levin, L.L.P., San Francisco, CA, for Amicus Curiae Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Incorporated. Ryan Patrick Delaney, Delaney & Robb Attorneys at Law, L.L.C., Metairie, LA, for Amicus Curiae Howard University School of Law Civil Rights Clinic. Rachel M. Kleinman, New York, N.Y., for Amicus Curiae NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Incorporated. Christopher Dowden Man, Chadbourne & Parke, L.L.P., Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae Outserve–SLDN and American Military Partner Association. Paul Reinherz Wolfson, Wilmer Hale, Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. Elizabeth Bonnie Wydra, Chief Counsel, Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae CATO Institute and Constitutional Accountability Center. Michael Louis Whitlock, Esq., Bingham McCutchen, L.L.P., Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae 36 Employers and Organizations Representing Employers. Jonathan Benjamin Miller, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, for Amici Curiae State of Massachusetts, State of California, State of Connecticut, State of Delaware, District of Columbia, State of Hawaii, State of Illinois, State of Iowa, State of Maine, State of Maryland, State of New Hampshire, State of New Mexico, State of New York, State of Oregon, State of Vermont and State of Washington. John J. McKetta, III, Esq., Boyce C. Cabaniss, Esq., Daniel Omar Ramon, Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody, P.C., Austin, TX, for Amici Curiae Historians of Marriage, Peter W. Bardaglio, Norma Basch, Stephanie Coontz, Nancy F. Cott, Toby L. Ditz, Laura F. Edwards, Michael Grossberg, Hendrik Hartog, Ellen Herman, Martha Hodes, Linda K. Kerber, Alice Kessler–Harris, Elaine Tyler May, Serena Mayeri, Steven Mintz, Elizabeth Pleck, Carole Shammas, Mary L. Shanley, Amy Dru Stanley and Barbara Welke. Jerome Cary Roth, Munger, Tolles & Olson, L.L.P., San Francisco, CA, Nicole Susan Phillis, Munger, Tolles & Olson, L.L.P., Los Angeles, CA, for Amici Curiae Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, Austin LGBT Bar Association, Bar Association of San Francisco, Central Florida Gay and Lesbian Law Association, Colorado Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Bar Association, Dallas Gay and Lesbian Bar Association, Freedom to Marry, Lambda Law Society of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, LGBT & Allied Lawyers of Utah Bar Association, LGBT Bar Association of Maryland Love Honor Cherish, Marriage Equality USA, Matthew Shepard Foundation, Mexican American Bar Association of San Antonio, Minnesota Lavender Bar Association, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, New Mexico Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association, Ogalla, The LGBT Bar Association of Oregon, Oklahomans For Equality, Outlaw Indiana University Maurer School Of Law, Outlaw University of Texas School of Law, Outlaws S.J. Quinney School of Law at the University of Utah, Qlaw the GLBT Bar Association Of Washington, SMU Outlaw Southern Methodist, University Dedman School of Law, Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia, Incorporated, Stonewall Law Association of Greater Houston and Stonewall Bar Association of Michigan. Emily J. Martin, Marcia Devins Greenberger, Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae National Women's Law Center, Gender Justice, Legal Momentum, Legal Voice, National Association of Women Lawyers, National Partnership for Women and Families, Ohio Womens Bar Association, Southwest Women's Law Center, Women's Law Project, Women Lawyers Association of Michigan and Professors of Law Associated with the Williams Institute. Jeffrey Samuel Trachtman, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, L.L.P., New York, N.Y., for amici Curiae Episcopal Bishop of Northwest Texas, General Synod of the United Church of Christ, Mormons for Equality, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, Union for Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalist Association, Affirmation, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns, Methodist Federation for Social Action, More Light Presbyterians, Presbyterian Welcome, Reconciling Ministries Network, Reconcilingworks, Lutherans for Full Participation, Religious Institute, Incorporated and 240 Texas Faith Leaders and Communities. Marjory A. Gentry, Esq., Sean Michael Callagy, Esq., Arnold & Porter, L.L.P., San Francisco, CA, for Amicus Curiae Family Law and Conflict of Laws Professors. Diane M. Soubly, Stevenson Keppelman Associates, Ann Arbor, MI, for Amici Curiae Ashutosh Bhagwat, Lee Bollinger, Erwin Chemerinsky, Walter Dellinger, Michael C. Dorf, Lee Epstein, Daniel Farber, William E. Forbath, Barry Friedman, Ellen D. Katz, John C. Jeffries, Jr., Lawrence Lessig, William Marshall, Frank Michelman, Jane S. Schacter, Suzanna Sherry, Geoffrey R. Stone, David Strauss, Laurence Tribe and William Van Alstyne. Rocky Chiu-feng Tsai, Ropes & Gray, L.L.C., San Francisco, CA, for Amici Curiae Anti–Defamation League, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Bend The Arch, A Jewish Partnership for Justice, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Global Justice Institute, Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Hindu American Foundation, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, Japanese American Citizens League, Jewish Social Policy Action Network, Keshet, Metropolitan Community Churches, More Light Presbyterians, National Council of Jewish Women, Nehirim, People for the American Way Foundation, Presbyterian Welcome, Reconcilingworks, Lutherans for Full Participation, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Society for Humanistic Judaism, T'ruah, The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Women of Reform Judaism and Women's League for Conservative Judaism.


Barry Alan Chasnoff, Daniel McNeel Lane, Jr., Esq., Matthew Edwin Pepping, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, L.L.P., Frank Stenger–Castro, San Antonio, TX, Michael P. Cooley, Andrew Forest Newman, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, L.L.P., Dallas, TX, Jessica M. Weisel, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, L.L.P., Los Angeles, CA, for Plaintiffs–Appellees.

Scott A. Keller, Solicitor, Jonathan F. Mitchell, Kyle David Highful, Beth Ellen Klusmann, Esq., Michael P. Murphy, Office of the Solicitor General for the State of Texas, James Davis Blacklock, Senior Counsel, Office of General Counsel for the Governor of Texas, Austin, TX, for Defendants–Appellants.

Deborah Jane Dewart, Attorney, Swansboro, NC, for Amici Curiae North Carolina Values Coalition and Liberty, Life, and Law Foundation.

David Christopher Boyle, Long Beach, CA, for Amici Curiae David Christopher Boyle, Katy Faust, B.N. Klein, Robert Oscar Lopez and Dawn Step Anowicz.

Mathew D. Staver, Esq., Anita Leigh Staver, Esq., Maitland, FL, Mary Elizabeth McAlister, Lynchburg, VA, for Amicus Curiae Liberty Counsel.

Kevin Trent Snider, Chief Counsel, Sacramento, CA, for Amicus Curiae Paul McHugh.

Jon Roy Ker, Esq., Hewitt, TX, for Amicus Curiae Social Science Professors.

Thomas Molnar Fisher, Solicitor General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN, for Amici Curiae State of Indiana, State of Alaska, State of Arizona, State of Colorado, State of Idaho, State of Montana, State of Oklahoma, State of South Carolina, State of South Dakota and State of Utah.

Robert Smead Hogan, Esq., Hogan Law Firm, P.C., Lubbock, TX, for Amici Curiae Professor Alan J. Hawkins and Professor Jason S. Carroll.

Richard Arthur Bordelon, Ralph Joseph Aucoin, Sr., Denechaud & Denechaud, L.L.P., New Orleans, LA, for Amici Curiae United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Association of Evangelicals Church of Jesus Christ Of Latteor–Day Saints, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

Lawrence John Joseph, Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae Texas Eagle Forum and Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund.

David Robert Nimocks, Esq., Washington, DC, Robert Paul Wilson, San Antonio, TX, for Amici Curiae Texas Values and Louisiana Family Forum.

Steven W. Fitschen, Esq., Counsel, National Legal Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA, for Amicus Curiae Concerned Women for America.Dean John Sauer, Clark & Sauer, L.L.C., Saint Louis, MO, for Amicus Curiae 23 Scholars of Federalism and Judicial Restraint.

Eric C. Rassbach, Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Stuart Kyle Duncan, Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae State of Louisiana.

Steven James Griffin, Esq., Daniel, Coker, Horton & Bell, P.A., Jackson, MS, for Amicus Curiae Helen M. Alvare.

William C. Duncan, Lehi, UT, for Amicus Curiae Marriage Law Foundation.

Michael Francis Smith, Smith Appellate Law Firm, Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson.

Russell Henry Withers, Austin, TX, for Amicus Curiae Texas Conservative Coalition.

Cecilia M. Wood, Austin, TX, for Amicus Curiae Center for the Preservation of American Ideals.

David Robinson, North Haven, CT, pro se.

David Robert Upham, Esq., Irving, TX, pro se.

Leif A. Olson, Olson Firm, P.L.L.C., Humble, TX, for Amici Curiae United States Pastor Council and Coalition of African American Pastors.

George David Carter, Jr., Arent Fox, L.L.P., Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae Law Enforcement Officers, First Responders, and Organizations.

Paul March Smith, Jenner & Block, L.L.P., Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae American Psychological Association, Texas Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, National Association of Social Workers and National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter.

Benjamin Gross Shatz, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, L.L.P., Los Angeles, CA, for Amicus Curiae Gary J. Gates.

Jyotin Rustom Hamid, Esq., Joseph Benjamin Rome, Debevoise & Plimpton, L.L.P., New York, N.Y., for Amicus Curiae Professor Carlos A. Ball.

Rebecca L. Robertson, Attorney, Houston, TX, for Amici Curiae Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Public Interest Organizations Bar Associations, American Civil Liberties Union, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, API Equality LA, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Asian Law Caucus, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles, Human Rights Campaign, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation and National LGBT Bar Association.

Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Sullivan & Worcester, L.L.P., for Amicus Curiae GLMA Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality.

Kenneth Dale Upton, Jr., Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, Incorporated, Dallas, TX, for Amicus Curiae Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Incorporated.

Carmine Daniel Boccuzzi, Jr., Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, L.L.P., New York, N.Y., for Amicus Curiae American Sociological Association.

Catherine Emily Stetson, Esq., Hogan Lovells US, L.L.P., Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae, Historians of Antigay Discrimination.Suzanne Beth Goldberg, New York, N.Y., for Amicus Curiae Columbia Law School Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic.

Roberta Ann Kaplan, Jacob Harris Hupart, Jaren Elizabeth Janghorbani, Joshua David Kaye, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, L.L.P., New York N.Y., for Amici Curiae Suzanne Bryant, Clinton Chamberlain, Karon Frances Cook, Julie Elliott–Abshire, Stephanie Elliott–Abshire, James Fair Child, III, David M. Garza, Sarah Goodfriend, Martin Harrison, Heather Hauch, John S. Hogg, Thomas Koenig, Kristy Kyle, Noellanduyt, Kristy Noble, Donald Puryear, Christ A. Robbins, Toni Roddey, Gary Schumman, Jason Stark, Angel Valdez and J. Brook Ward.

Berrie Rebecca Goldman, San Francisco, CA, Keith Miles Aurzada, Bryan Cave, L.L.P., Dallas, TX, for Amici Curiae Family Equality Council and Colage.

Jiyun Cameron Lee, Folger Levin, L.L.P., San Francisco, CA, for Amicus Curiae Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Incorporated.

Ryan Patrick Delaney, Delaney & Robb Attorneys at Law, L.L.C., Metairie, LA, for Amicus Curiae Howard University School of Law Civil Rights Clinic.

Rachel M. Kleinman, New York, N.Y., for Amicus Curiae NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Incorporated.

Christopher Dowden Man, Chadbourne & Parke, L.L.P., Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae Outserve–SLDN and American Military Partner Association.

Paul Reinherz Wolfson, Wilmer Hale, Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.

Elizabeth Bonnie Wydra, Chief Counsel, Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae CATO Institute and Constitutional Accountability Center.

Michael Louis Whitlock, Esq., Bingham McCutchen, L.L.P., Washington, DC, for Amicus Curiae 36 Employers and Organizations Representing Employers.

Jonathan Benjamin Miller, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, for Amici Curiae State of Massachusetts, State of California, State of Connecticut, State of Delaware, District of Columbia, State of Hawaii, State of Illinois, State of Iowa, State of Maine, State of Maryland, State of New Hampshire, State of New Mexico, State of New York, State of Oregon, State of Vermont and State of Washington.

John J. McKetta, III, Esq., Boyce C. Cabaniss, Esq., Daniel Omar Ramon, Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody, P.C., Austin, TX, for Amici Curiae Historians of Marriage, Peter W. Bardaglio, Norma Basch, Stephanie Coontz, Nancy F. Cott, Toby L. Ditz, Laura F. Edwards, Michael Grossberg, Hendrik Hartog, Ellen Herman, Martha Hodes, Linda K. Kerber, Alice Kessler–Harris, Elaine Tyler May, Serena Mayeri, Steven Mintz, Elizabeth Pleck, Carole Shammas, Mary L. Shanley, Amy Dru Stanley and Barbara Welke.

Jerome Cary Roth, Munger, Tolles & Olson, L.L.P., San Francisco, CA, Nicole Susan Phillis, Munger, Tolles & Olson, L.L.P., Los Angeles, CA, for Amici Curiae Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, Austin LGBT Bar Association, Bar Association of San Francisco, Central Florida Gay and Lesbian Law Association, Colorado Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Bar Association, Dallas Gay and Lesbian Bar Association, Freedom to Marry, Lambda Law Society of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, LGBT & Allied Lawyers of Utah Bar Association, LGBT Bar Association of Maryland Love Honor Cherish, Marriage Equality USA, Matthew Shepard Foundation, Mexican American Bar Association of San Antonio, Minnesota Lavender Bar Association, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, New Mexico Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association, Ogalla, The LGBT Bar Association of Oregon, Oklahomans For Equality, Outlaw Indiana University Maurer School Of Law, Outlaw University of Texas School of Law, Outlaws S.J. Quinney School of Law at the University of Utah, Qlaw the GLBT Bar Association Of Washington, SMU Outlaw Southern Methodist, University Dedman School of Law, Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia, Incorporated, Stonewall Law Association of Greater Houston and Stonewall Bar Association of Michigan.

Emily J. Martin, Marcia Devins Greenberger, Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae National Women's Law Center, Gender Justice, Legal Momentum, Legal Voice, National Association of Women Lawyers, National Partnership for Women and Families, Ohio Womens Bar Association, Southwest Women's Law Center, Women's Law Project, Women Lawyers Association of Michigan and Professors of Law Associated with the Williams Institute.

Jeffrey Samuel Trachtman, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, L.L.P., New York, N.Y., for amici Curiae Episcopal Bishop of Northwest Texas, General Synod of the United Church of Christ, Mormons for Equality, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, Union for Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalist Association, Affirmation, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns, Methodist Federation for Social Action, More Light Presbyterians, Presbyterian Welcome, Reconciling Ministries Network, Reconcilingworks, Lutherans for Full Participation, Religious Institute, Incorporated and 240 Texas Faith Leaders and Communities.

Marjory A. Gentry, Esq., Sean Michael Callagy, Esq., Arnold & Porter, L.L.P., San Francisco, CA, for Amicus Curiae Family Law and Conflict of Laws Professors.

Diane M. Soubly, Stevenson Keppelman Associates, Ann Arbor, MI, for Amici Curiae Ashutosh Bhagwat, Lee Bollinger, Erwin Chemerinsky, Walter Dellinger, Michael C. Dorf, Lee Epstein, Daniel Farber, William E. Forbath, Barry Friedman, Ellen D. Katz, John C. Jeffries, Jr., Lawrence Lessig, William Marshall, Frank Michelman, Jane S. Schacter, Suzanna Sherry, Geoffrey R. Stone, David Strauss, Laurence Tribe and William Van Alstyne.

Rocky Chiu-feng Tsai, Ropes & Gray, L.L.C., San Francisco, CA, for Amici Curiae Anti–Defamation League, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Bend The Arch, A Jewish Partnership for Justice, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Global Justice Institute, Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Hindu American Foundation, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, Japanese American Citizens League, Jewish Social Policy Action Network, Keshet, Metropolitan Community Churches, More Light Presbyterians, National Council of Jewish Women, Nehirim, People for the American Way Foundation, Presbyterian Welcome, Reconcilingworks, Lutherans for Full Participation, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Society for Humanistic Judaism, T'ruah, The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Women of Reform Judaism and Women's League for Conservative Judaism.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Before HIGGINBOTHAM, SMITH, and GRAVES, Circuit Judges.

Opinion

JERRY E. SMITH, Circuit Judge:

The plaintiffs are two same-sex couples who seek to marry in Texas or to have their marriage in another state recognized in Texas. They sued the state defendants seeking (1) a declaration that Texas's law denying same-sex couples the right to marry, set forth in Article I, § 32 of the Texas Constitution and, inter alia, Texas Family Code §§ 2.001 and 6.204, violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and also seeking (2) a permanent injunction barring enforcement of Texas's laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. On February 26, 2014, the district court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the state from enforcing any laws or regulations prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying or prohibiting the recognition of marriages between same-sex couples lawfully solemnized elsewhere. The court immediately stayed its injunction while the state appealed. After full briefing, including participation by numerous amici curiae, this court heard expanded oral argument on January 9, 2015.

While this appeal was under submission, the Supreme Court decided Obergefell v. Hodges, ––– U.S. ––––, 135 S.Ct. 2584, 192 L.Ed.2d 609, 2015 WL 2473451 (2015). In summary, the Court declared that

the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them. Baker v. Nelson [, 409 U.S. 810, 93 S.Ct. 37, 34 L.Ed.2d 65 (1972),] must be and now is overruled, and the State laws challenged by petitioners in these cases are now held invalid to the extent they exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.

Id. at 2604–05, 2015 WL 2473451 at *19. “It follows that the Court must also hold—and it now does hold—that there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character.” Id. at 2608, 2015 WL 2473451 at *23.

Having addressed fundamental rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court, importantly, invoked the First Amendment, as well:

Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same-sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate. The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same

terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.

Id. at 2607, 2015 WL 2473451 at *22.

Obergefell, in both its Fourteenth and First Amendment iterations, is the law of the land and, consequently, the law of this circuit and should not be taken lightly by actors within the jurisdiction of this court. We express no view on how controversies involving the intersection of these rights should be resolved but instead leave that to the robust operation of our system of laws and the good faith of those who are impacted by them.

If it were suggested that any part of the quoted passages is obiter dictum, we need only recall that although “[w]e are not bound by dicta, even of our own court [,] [d]icta of the Supreme Court are, of course, another matter.” United States v. Becton, 632 F.2d 1294, 1296 n. 3 (5th Cir.1980). “[W]e give serious consideration to this recent and detailed discussion of the law by a majority of the Supreme Court.” Gearlds v. Entergy Servs., Inc., 709 F.3d 448, 452 (5th Cir.2013) (Reavley, J.).



In response to Obergefell, the same day it was announced, the district court a quo issued a one-paragraph order entitled “Order Granting Plaintiffs' Emergency Unopposed Motion To Lift the Stay of Injunction,” stating that it “hereby LIFTS the stay of injunction issued on February 26, 2014 ... and enjoins Defendants from enforcing Article I, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution, any related provisions in the Texas Family Code, and any other laws or regulations prohibiting a person from marrying another person of the same sex or recognizing same-sex marriage.” This court sought and promptly received letter advisories from plaintiffs and the state, asking their respective positions on the proper specific disposition in light of Obergefell. Because, as both sides now agree, the injunction appealed from is correct in light of Obergefell, the preliminary injunction is AFFIRMED. This matter is REMANDED for entry of judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. The court must act expeditiously on remand and should enter final judgment on the merits (exclusive of any collateral matters such as costs and attorney fees) by July 17, 2015, and earlier if reasonably possible.

Any pending motions are denied as moot.

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The mandate shall issue forthwith.