Could Texas become the next state where same-sex marriage is legal? Two gay couples in San Antonio, one all-male and one all-female, are headed to court this week to ask a judge to overturn the amendment that bans gay marriage in the state. While it’s unlikely the ruling will happen, some surprising states have recently legalized gay marriage including Utah and Oklahoma, although the latter is currently appealing that ruling.
The suit was filed on behalf of Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, two women who live in Austin and were married in Massachusetts, and Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss, two men who were denied a marriage license when they applied last year. Dimetman and De Leon are both military veterans who were denied their request to adopt a child last year because the state doesn’t recognize their partnership. The amendment has a better chance of being overturned than normal because U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton, will hear the case.
“It is undeniable that the arc of social justice points in the direction of marriage equality,” said lead counsel for the plaintiffs, Neel Lane. However, 70 percent of Texans currently support the gay marriage ban and several leading Republican officials in the state, including Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, said they will fight to keep the amendment on the books.
“The U.S. Supreme Court was clear that states have independent authority to establish their marriage laws. Texans adopted a constitutional amendment defining marriage,” said Abbott’s office in a statement. “We will defend that amendment.” Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Perry said that he he “believes in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, regarding it as the linchpin of the family unit and, thus, society as a whole.”