by Max Brantley
Even in John’s moment of great sorrow, Texas continues to wage a war against marriage equality — despite a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States commanding them to lay down their arms.Texas is already under a court order not to enforce its same-sex marriage ban. Hoskins, as a result, has not only asked for his rights under the law but that Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton (under indictment in a securities case) and health services director Kirk Cole be held in contempt of court.
The emergency motion also discloses one more detail about John Allen Stone-Hoskins. John has cancer, and his doctors “estimate he has no more than 45 to 60 days to live.” If the state does not stop resisting its constitutional obligation soon, John will die without ever having his rights vindicated in life
As a legal matter, it’s hard to imagine a litigant with a stronger claim for relief. The facts of John’s situation are, in all relevant respects, identical to the situation that faced Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision. Like John, Obergefell is a gay man who married his late husband in a state that recognized the equal marriage rights of same-sex couples, only to return home to a state that refused to honor those rights. John is asking for the exact same relief that Obergefell sought.
Acting with speed that is typically unheard of in the federal judiciary outside of last minute appeals of a death sentence, Judge Orlando Garcia granted John ’s [Hoskins'] motion the same day that it was filed. Garcia’s order does not simply order Cole to “immediately issue an amended death certificate for James H. Stone-Hoskins to state that John Allen Stone-Hoskins is the surviving spouse of James, and in doing so, fully recognize their legal out-of-state marriage,” it also orders both Cole and Paxton to appear in court “to determine whether Defendants should be held in contempt for disobedience of this Court’s July 7, 2015 order, permanently enjoining Defendants from enforcing any Texas’s laws that prohibit or fail to recognize same-sex marriage.”Leviticus might say something about men lying with men, though I've read differing interpretations. I'm pretty sure it doesn't encourage persecution and harassment of the dead and dying and their families.