Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott vows to fight homosexual marriage

Greg Abbott

by Katherine Weber

Newscast Media AUSTIN—Two same-sex couples in Texas filed a federal lawsuit this
week challenging the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that was
overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2005. The couples argue that the ban
unconstitutionally prevents them from enjoying the benefits of married couples, while
the state’s Attorney General Greg Abbott has vowed to vigorously defend the ban.

Lawyers for the couples said in court documents filed this week in the U.S. District
Court in San Antonio that their clients are being unconstitutionally discriminated
against by not being allowed to marry in the state, where in 2005, nearly 75 percent
of voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between
one man and one woman. The lawsuit specifically argues that the June ruling by the
U.S. Supreme Court that overturned a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act
conflicts with state-to-state bans on same-sex marriage.

The two couples, Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin and Victor Holmes
and Mark Phariss of Plano, are seeking an injunction to halt the state law banning
same-sex marriage. “There is no rational basis, much less a compelling government
purpose, for Texas to deny plaintiffs the same right to marry enjoyed by the majority
of society,” attorney Barry Chasnoff, who is representing that plaintiffs, said in a
statement to the Associated Press. Currently, 16 states in the U.S. have legalized
same-sex marriage, the most recent ones being Illinois and Hawaii.

Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Abbott, said the attorney general is prepared to
defend the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, arguing that the Supreme
Court was clear to ensure in its ruling that individual states would have the authority
to determine same-sex marriage legalization. “The U.S. Supreme Court was clear that
states have independent authority to establish their marriage laws. Texans adopted a
constitutional amendment defining marriage. We will defend that amendment.”