Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes

Texas marriage equality plaintiffs Mark Phariss, Vic Holmes, Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman filed an amicus brief in Pidgeon v. Harris, a case before the Texas Supreme Court concerning Houston’s ability to provide equal benefits to married same-sex couples. A hearing in that case is scheduled for March 1. Jason Steed, a partner with the law firm of Bell Nunnally, filed the brief on behalf of the couples who won their case in federal court.

Holmes, a veteran who retired from the U.S. Air Force after almost 23 years of service, and Phariss, a corporate attorney in Plano, will celebrate their 20th anniversary in August and their second wedding anniversary in November. Because Holmes is a professor at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in Fort Worth and Phariss, as Holmes’ spouse, is covered by the university’s state-sponsored health care plan, Phariss and Holmes could be directly and significantly impacted by an adverse decision by the Texas Supreme Court.

Phariss and Holmes released a statement that said, “It really is unbelievable that full marriage equality is again being challenged in Texas.  It is particularly unbelievable because it is being challenged less than two years after the U.S. Supreme Court recognized same-sex couples’ constitutional right to marry.   More unbelievable is that Texas’ Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General support that challenge, notwithstanding the fact that Texas consented to the filing of a judgment and a permanent injunction in our case, DeLeon v. Abbott.

“What is being litigated is whether Texas can impose second-class status on our marriage and the marriages of thousands of other LGBT Texans.  This position is wrong on the law and an affront to equality and personal freedom, not to mention a waste of taxpayer money.”