Cases challenging gay marriage bans in
Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi will be heard Friday by a
three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New
Starting at 9 AM, each side will get 30
minutes to argue their case and answer questions from the judges.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia
struck down Texas' ban in February; U.S. District Judge Carlton W.
Reeves declared Mississippi's ban unconstitutional in November; and
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman upheld Louisiana's ban in August.
Plaintiffs in the Texas case are a
lesbian couple who want the state to recognize their Massachusetts
marriage and a male gay couple who wish to marry in Texas.
Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss of San
Antonio (pictured) have been together for 17 years. The couple was
denied a marriage license in 2013.
Plaintiffs challenging Louisiana's ban
have also asked the Supreme Court to review the case, even before the
Fifth Circuit has issued a ruling.
Two gay couples and the Campaign for
Southern Equality are plaintiffs in the case challenging
Lead counsel Roberta Kaplan also
represented Edie Windsor in the landmark case that toppled a key
provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Two judges, Patrick Higginbotham and
Jerry Smith, were appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan,
while James Graves Jr. was appointed by President Barack Obama. Many
analysts believe Smith, an extremely conservative judge, will uphold