The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, on Wednesday endorsed Mark Phariss' bid to represent the people of Senate District 8 in the Texas Senate.

Phariss, a Plano-based lawyer, and Victor Holmes, an Air Force veteran, were among the two gay couples who sued Texas after the state refused to issue each couple a marriage license. They won at the district court level but the decision was stayed as the state appealed. The case was resolved two years later when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry.

Phariss, who will face engineer Brian Chaput for the Democratic nomination, would become the state's first openly gay state senator, if elected. The Democratic primary is held on March 6.

“Mark Phariss will fight for all of his constituents – no matter who they are or whom they love – if he is elected to the Texas State Senate,” HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse said in a statement. “We are proud to endorse Mark’s candidacy and look forward to working with him in the Texas Legislature, where he would be the first openly gay state senator in the Lone Star State. Following an especially tough year for LGBTQ Texans, Mark’s voice is needed now more than ever in Austin.”

Phariss told The Dallas Morning News that he was inspired to run by recent Democratic wins in Virginia and Alabama, both considered Republican strongholds.

“When I was accepting the fact that I was gay, there were two things I kind of thought I had to give up: one, getting married, and two, running for political office," Phariss told the paper. "I need to quit assuming what people will think. I need to allow them the choice."

HRC has also endorsed Julie Johnson, who is running for a seat in the Texas House.