A state district judge in San Antonio has ruled that Texas’ bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.
Judge Barbara Nellermoe issued the ruling Tuesday in the case of a lesbian couple — Allison Leona Flood Lesh and Kristi Lyn Lesh — who filed for divorce in February.
Nellermoe cited in her ruling a federal district judge’s decision in February striking down the amendment.
Nellermoe is the third state district judge to rule that same-sex couples can divorce in Texas. After judges in Austin and Dallas granted divorces to same-sex couples, Attorney General Greg Abbott intervened and appealed the decisions. The cases are now pending before the Texas Supreme Court.
Abbott has also intervened in the San Antonio case.
LGBT advocates say Nellermoe’s ruling is a victory for same-sex parental rights. The Leshes had a child together through artificial insemination last year. Kristi Lesh, the biological mother, is seeking sole custody. However, Nellermoe ruled that it would be unconstitutional to deny Allison Lesh — who’s seeking split custody — the same rights that would be afforded to a father.
“I’m ecstatic. I’m very happy. I can’t wait to see my daughter,” Allison Lesh told KABB-TV after the ruling. “To know that I have been deemed one of the parents and I can see my daughter is just overwhelming.”
It’s unclear whether Kristi Lesh’s attorneys plan to appeal the ruling, but Abbott’s involvement virtually ensures that it will be reviewed by a higher court. Abbott, a Republican who’s running for governor in 2014, has argued that judges in Texas can’t grant divorces to same-sex couples because the state doesn’t recognize their marriages.
The San Antonio divorce case is one of eight pending lawsuits related to Texas’ marriage bans. In addition to the three divorce cases, three lawsuits have been filed in federal court by same-sex couples seeking the right to marry. In addition, two federal lawsuits over same-sex benefits for Houston city employees directly involve the state’s marriage bans.
Watch a report on from KABB below.