Death Certificates; Birth Certificates
. When the decision in
was announced, Federal District Judge Orlando Garcia
issued an order enjoining the State of Texas from enforcing any
law that prohibits or fails to recognize same-sex marriages. A new
intervened in the case in Judge Garcia’s court, alleging
that the Bexar County Clerk, the Texas Attorney General, and the
interim State Commissioner of Health Services, were refusing
to issue an amended death certificate. Judge Garcia ordered
the Attorney General and Commissioner to appear in his court
and show cause why they should not be held in contempt of
Judge Garcia’s earlier order invalidating Texas’ ban on same-
sex marriage. The Attorney General filed a brief saying that
the amended death certificate would issue but that a legal
question existed as to the retroactivity of
Obergefell v. Hodges
of same-sex marriages, but not of civil unions. The
Texas Constitution and Texas Family Code still prohibit
recognition of a civil union, which the Family Code defines
as “any relationship status other than marriage that:
(i) is intended as an alternative to marriage or applies
primarily to cohabitating persons; and (2) grants to the
parties of the relationship legal protections, benefits, or
responsibilities granted to the spouses of a marriage.”
So far, this prohibition has not been touched by cases
and it remains the law of Texas.
The IRS does not treat registered domestic partnerships
or civil unions as a marriage, and that position was not
U.S. v. Windsor
which in part was based
on the due process clause in the Fifth Amendment.
The states of the United
States permit only marriages between two persons, not
more. The history was plainly stated in
Reynolds v. U.S:
Polygamy has always been odious among the northern and western nations of Europe, and, until
the establishment of the Mormon Church, was almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and of African
people. At common law, the second marriage was always void (2 Kent, Com. 79), and from the earliest
history of England, polygamy has been treated as an offence against society.
Potter v. Murray City
a Federal district judge ruled that the state of Utah, who fired an employee for
polygamy, had a compelling interest in protecting and advancing traditional marriage that supported the ban
on polygamous marriage.
In Africa polygamy is widely accepted where it is not widely practiced. Islamic law (Shari’a law) permits “plural
marriages” in some situations. It is estimated that 1 to 3% of marriages in the Islamic world are polygamous.
Under Shari’a law, a man can take up to four wives, provided he can afford to support them all and the
children he has with them. Polygamy is legal, subject to varying conditions, in Iraq, Syria, Morocco, Algeria,
Jordan, Yemen, Egypt, Indonesia, Muslims in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Muslims in Sri Lanka, Singapore,
Camaroon, Burkina Faso, Gabon (where polygamy is the default), Bhutan, and nations in Africa that apply
“African customary law.” Polygamous marriage validly entered into in another country are recognized in
England, Australia and New Zealand. The courts of France, Belgium, Spain, and Canada do not recognize
plural marriage but will afford some marital-rights to persons in such relationships.
One National Public
Radio report related that academics researching the issue estimate that 50,000 to 100,000 people in the
United States live in polygamous families.
At some point, American courts will have to address persons