AUSTIN, TX — A federal lawsuit has been filed in Texas in an effort to overturn the state’s same-sex ‘marriage’ ban.
Mark Pharris, Vic Holmes, Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman are named in the suit, but have noted that their case involves the interests of all homosexuals in the state.
“In Texas, Plaintiffs cannot legally marry their partner before family, friends, and society–a right enjoyed by citizens who wish to marry a person of the opposite sex. And should they become married in a state that has established marriage equality, Texas explicitly voids their marriage,” the legal challenge outlines. “There is no rational basis, much less a compelling government purpose, for Texas to deny plaintiffs the same right to marry enjoyed by the majority of society.”
It asserts that the ban violates the U.S. Constitution, namely the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The challenge also points to the recent decision in United States v. Windsor as the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
De Leon and Dimetman were “wed” in Massachusetts in 2009, but their relationship was not recognized upon return to Texas. Pharris said that he and Holmes have likewise considered traveling to another state where same-sex ceremonies are allowed, but note that their relationship means nothing in Texas.
But Jonathan Senz, the president of Texas Values, said that he believes the suit would not hold up in court.
“Texas law is absolutely clear that same sex marriage is illegal. This is a frivolous lawsuit,” he wrote in a statement released on Tuesday. “The only way that homosexual advocates win this case is if federal judges abuse their power, legislate from the bench and violate nearly every principle of law and policy in our state and country.”
“This is Texas, not the White House,” Senz continued. “Our attorney general will defend our law and our Constitution vigorously. I expect Texas to win with an exclamation point.”
The state’s current marriage amendment was passed in 2005 with 75 percent of Texans approving of the measure. Nearly 30 other states have similar constitutional amendments on the books.
However, since the Supreme Court’s decision regarding DOMA, a number of lawsuits have been filed across the nation, including in Virginia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Michigan and North Carolina. Last July, a federal judge put a halt on Ohio’s constitutional amendment after two homosexuals who traveled to Maryland for their ceremony sued the state for not recognizing their relationship.
“It’s unfortunate that there are people out there who want to ban this state from defining marriage as it has been defined by virtually everyone since the beginning of recorded history,” Martin Cothran of the Kentucky Family Association told reporters.
The Texas suit could be heard as early as January 2014.
Photo: Kumar Appiah
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