Federal judge sets hearing for Texas same-sex marriage case

DALLAS Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:38pm EST

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DALLAS (Reuters) - A federal judge has agreed to hear a case filed by two same-sex couples in Texas seeking to overturn a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, their lawyer said on Wednesday.

A San Antonio federal court will hear arguments in February in the case seeking to nullify a 2005 amendment that defines marriage as solely "the union of one man and one woman."

The suit was filed on behalf of Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, a lesbian couple who were married in Massachusetts but live in Austin, and for Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss, who applied for a marriage license in San Antonio in October but were denied.

The lawsuit comes at a time of increasing momentum for gay marriage in the courts, at the ballot box and in statehouses around the country that have brought to 16 the number of U.S. states that allow gay marriage.

The trend has gained steam since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that married same-sex couples were eligible for federal benefits, striking down a key part of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Massachusetts led the way in legalizing gay marriage by becoming the first state to do so in 2003. A year ago, only six states and the District of Columbia recognized same-sex marriage, but the number has since increased due in most cases to litigation over the issue.

In Texas, state offices are dominated by Republicans, who stand behind the amendment as part of what they say is a defense of traditional marriage. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican and defendant in this case, is a front-runner in next year's governor race and supports the amendment.

The case joins several other marriage-equality lawsuits filed in other states including Tennessee and Pennsylvania, in hopes of challenging bans on gay marriage in their states before the Supreme Court.

Texas is one of more than 30 states that ban same-sex marriage by statute or through constitutional amendments defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The state attorney general's office declined to comment on the suit.

(Reporting By Lisa Maria Garza; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Philip Barbara)

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Comments (4)
daniwitz13 wrote:
There is a Natural Law that only a Male and Female can make Children. But I’m sure that the Gays will strike that one down too. If they can strike down Texas Constitution, they can strike down Nature too. They are on a roll, and Nothing can stop them, Even the Supreme Court is on their side and making Children is NOT a Male and Female Formula any more. If the Supreme Court says that they are Equal and Equality demands that NOT be denied to make Children, who am I to say they can’t. I’m sure that even though Gays Discriminate by choosing only one Gender and exclude the other, can easily be overlooked by the Courts. Pity

Dec 12, 2013 12:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
Ned_Flaherty wrote:
The Christian concept of “Natural Law” is never based on a scientific fact, and it never reflects any supernatural rule. A “Natural Law” is nothing more than a religious superstition, held over from the Dark Age and persisting in modern times among the less educated.

Although many same-gender couples have children (via prior marriage, fertility, surrogacy, foster care, and/or adoption), having children is never a requirement for getting a marriage license, so the ability, desire, and intent to procreate is irrelevant to the question of whether adults can or should marry.

Society never revokes a marriage license for couples who don’t procreate, and it never terminates a license for couples who pass child-bearing age.

Procreation, breeding, and animal husbandry are not tied to marriage any more than good cooking is. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Some people produce more than others. Just as someone who doesn’t cook, or cooks poorly, never loses their marriage license, so too, couples who can’t, don’t, or won’t procreate never lose their marriage license, because the license is to marry, not to breed.

On a separate note, people who capitalize letters and words needlessly and incorrectly, to make what they’re saying seem more True, are typically far more ignorant, fearful, and bigoted than average.

Dec 12, 2013 5:19pm EST  --  Report as abuse
pjt453 wrote:
The Attorney General of Texas is attempting to consolidate this case, and one other, into a third that was filed in July 2013. The case filed in July, actually has an identical hearing set for 2:00 p.m. January 9, 2014 in Austin.

Case: A-13-cv-0631-SS

Dec 13, 2013 3:13am EST  --  Report as abuse
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