Gay couples file motion to block state marriage amendment in Texas

Posted on 25 Nov 2013 at 11:23am
Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss

Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss

An attorney representing two Texas gay couples filed a motion for temporary injunction Friday, requesting that state officials stop enforcing the state’s constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying.

Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano, joined by Austin couple Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman, are the plaintiffs in the case. Both couples met in San Antonio years ago, but while the lesbian couple later married out of state, they want their union recognized here, and Phariss and Holmes want to marry in Texas.

The motion, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio by attorney Barry Chasnoff, requests  the court prevent state officials from enforcing Article I, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution and corresponding provisions in the Texas Family Code that prevent same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses.

“Section 32 denies Plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage, its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities, for the sole reason that they love and wish to be married to a person of the same sex,” the motion reads in part. “As such, Section 32 violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Constitution requires that these laws be declared unenforceable. Justice requires that this relief be afforded immediately, fully, and for all time.

“In a society that celebrates marriages of long duration, these Plaintiffs are unlikely ever to celebrate the milestones many of our parents achieved because Section 32 expressly deems them unworthy to be married, even while it makes that institution available virtually without restriction to all heterosexual citizens of lawful age.”

Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott, who are vocal opponents of same-sex marriage, are listed among the lawsuit’s defendants, as are Bexar County Clerk Gerard Rickhoff and David Lackey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The motion also asks that Rickhoff issue a marriage license to plaintiffs Phariss and Holmes. They tried to receive a license earlier this year but were denied.

Chasnoff said he expects a hearing to take place regarding the injunction by mid-January. Defendants can respond to the motion, which will likely push a hearing to after the New Year with the upcoming holidays.

Read the full motion below.

SSM Preliminary Injunction

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