Texas Support Grows for Same-Sex Marriage
This place got its name because the main road was straight as a gun barrel. Today, it’s at the center of a fight over gay marriage.
That’s because weekenders Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes, who bought an A-frame house overlooking scenic Cedar Creek Lake four years ago, have become minor celebrities as the men challenging Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage.
Their battle, joined by two women whose Massachusetts marriage the Lone Star State refuses to recognize, is as unlikely as it is uphill. They’ve already won the first round in federal court in San Antonio, where District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled the state’s marriage laws against gay couples “demean their dignity for no legitimate reason.”
Yet if the national winning streak for gay marriage has an Achilles’ heel, the conservative-leaning U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans might be it. The court tilts 10-5 in favor of judges named by Republican presidents. It recently upheld a law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, which forced some abortion clinics to close.
In the year since the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the federal government cannot deny marriage benefits to legally married gay and lesbian couples, lower court judges have uniformly fallen in line. Beyond Texas, they have given full or partial victories to gay couples in Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia.