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Federal judge to hear arguments today in Texas marriage equality case

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Texas state sealToday’s the big day in San Antonio for two same-sex couples who will present oral arguments before a federal judge as to why the state’s marriage equality ban is unconstitutional.  The AP reports:

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia is expected to decide whether to temporarily block the law, approved by voters in 2005, until a trial can be held in the couples’ case. Similar lawsuits have been filed in 22 other states, but the Texas lawsuit is the first of its kind in the region covered by the southern and deeply conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the case will likely end up.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican running for governor, opposes legalizing gay marriage and has vowed to defend the law, a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. But civil rights groups that recently won injunctions against similar bans in Utah and Oklahoma relied on the same argument being cited in the Texas case: Banning gay marriage violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Today’s hearing is a combination of two cases, one filed by Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes arguing Texas’s equal marriage ban violates their equal protection rights and another by Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, who sought to have their marriage license from Massachusetts recognized by the state.  Judge Garcia, a Clinton appointee, could issue a ruling from the bench today but is likely to hold off and issue a written decision at a later date.

Unlike in other states like Virginia and, most recently, Nevada, where the state attorneys general have chosen not to defend marriage equality bans for various reasons, Abbott is adamant that he will defend Texas’s prohibition.  “The attorney general’s office will defend the Texas Constitution in this case just as we do in all cases where state laws are challenged in court,” Abbott’s spokeswoman Lauren Bean told the AP. “The U.S. Supreme Court was clear that states have independent authority to establish their marriage laws.”

We’ll have coverage of the arguments after they are finished.

For more information on De Leon v. Perry from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.


  • 1. Guest  |  February 12, 2014 at 9:32 am

    New Developments in Ky:
    Kentucky ban on gay marriages from other states struck down by federal judge <a href="″ target=”_blank”>…” target=”_blank”>

  • 2. ragefirewolf  |  February 12, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I was just going to post that. Here's another link:

  • 3. grod  |  February 12, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    I thought the judge was setting the stage for marriage equality within the state. You might recall the observation of OK's Judge T. Kean to the Bartons [twice married out-of -state couple]: A challenge to Part B [recognition of out of state]could successfully be made by asserting the same arguments that had just been used by the Bishop couple to defeat Part A [the 'in-state' marriage Amendment] – In this instance, the argument's successfully used by out-of-staters could be used to achieve in-state valid marriage .

  • 4. Rik  |  February 12, 2014 at 9:45 am

    usable link:

  • 5. jpmassar  |  February 12, 2014 at 9:52 am

    A federal judge Wednesday struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing valid same-sex marriages performed in other states, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

    U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II joined nine other federal and state courts in invalidating such bans.

    Ruling in a suit brought by four gay and lesbian couples, Heyburn said that while “religious beliefs … are vital to the fabric of society … assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.”

    Heyburn said “it is clear that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

  • 6. jpmassar  |  February 12, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Heyburn also said “no one has offered any evidence that recognizing same-sex marriages will harm opposite-sex marriages.”

  • 7. JimT  |  February 12, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Judge Heyburn was nominated by President George H. W. Bush Sr and appointed to the bench in 1992. The extreme right probably are feeling a sharp sting from "one of their own" overturning part of the ban.

  • 8. Zack12  |  February 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    The thing is Judge Shelby might be an Obama nominee but due to blocking of the judicial nominations Republicans have been doing, he was one both Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee wanted on the bench.
    They won't accept the fact there are some judges on their side that will actually look at facts and the U.S. Constitution and not just pull stuff out of thin air to justify a bigoted ruling.

  • 9. Mackenzie  |  February 12, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Also, am I seeing that Louisiana has couples who filed suit today?

  • 10. grod  |  February 12, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    I read there are 50 equality cases before the courts.

  • 11. Ramon  |  February 12, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    My partner and I are eagerly awaiting outcomes in Texas that will hopefully be in our favor. Most of our family is here and it is unfair to us and them if we are forced to travel to another state to get married. We are grateful to see all this happening and did not think we would see this in our lifetime. Thank you US Constitution and thank you Lady Justice!

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