Taking advantage of a newly favorable legal climate, gay-marriage advocates have taken their fight to federal courts in Texas and at least 16 other states, winning recent rulings in Oklahoma and Utah that could spell trouble for the Lone Star State’s ban on same-sex spouses.
Gay couples have filed three federal lawsuits in Austin and San Antonio asking judges to void the Texas law and constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.
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• Two couples, Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin, and Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss of Plano, seek an injunction barring Texas from enforcing its ban on same-sex marriage. The suit was filed in San Antonio, where a hearing is set for Feb. 12.
• Two Austin couples — Shannon and Catherine Zahrn, who want to get married, and Alexius Augustine and Andrew Simpson, who were married in Maine — filed suit in Austin to overturn the state ban. Their lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of all gays and lesbians in Texas.
• Two Fort Worth-area men filed suit in Austin arguing that the state ban on same-sex marriage is without valid governmental objective. Christopher McNosky and Sven Stricker are acting without lawyers.
Capitol reporter Chuck Lindell has covered legal affairs since 2005 and written numerous stories about same-sex marriage and divorce laws in Texas.