A federal lawsuit challenging Texas'
ban on gay marriage will have its first hearing on Wednesday.
The lawsuit, filed by two gay couples,
will be heard before a federal judge in San Antonio.
Cleopatra de Leon and Nicole Dimetman
of Austin married in Massachusetts but a constitutional amendment
approved by voters in 2005 prohibits Texas from recognizing their
marriage. The law also prevents San Antonio couple Victor Holmes and
Mark Phariss from marrying. The couple was denied a marriage license
Phariss, a lawyer, and Holmes, an Air
Force veteran, have been in a relationship for 17 years.
“We love each other and, like most
straight couples who love each other, we want to get married,”
Pharris told The
Dallas Morning News.
Pharris said he's encouraged by the
support the couple has received.
“This level of support is very
encouraging and we hope this case does make a difference, not just
for Vic and me, but for all Texans,” Pharris said.
The suit is among the nearly two dozen
filed throughout the nation following a June ruling from the U.S.
Supreme Court striking down a key portion of the Defense of Marriage
Act (DOMA) which prohibited the federal government from recognizing
the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples. Most of the cases
have been filed in federal courts in hopes of reaching the Supreme
Plaintiff couples are asking the court
to immediately halt enforcement of Texas' ban on same-sex marriage.
State lawyers have asked for the suit to be dismissed, arguing that
Texas is “promoting the state's interest in responsible procreation