Akin Gump Secures Victory in Texas Marriage Equality Suit

(San Antonio, TX) In a case that quickly became the focus of statewide and national attention, Federal Judge Orlando Garcia has granted an injunction that blocks sections of the Texas Constitution and Texas law prohibiting same-sex marriage and recognition of same-sex marriages performed out of state. 

The plaintiffs in the suit are two couples represented pro bono by Akin Gump. Austin residents Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman were legally married in Massachusetts on September 11, 2009 and have a young son together. Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss of Plano have been together nearly 17 years and want to marry each other in Texas.  Both couples previously lived in San Antonio.

Akin Gump litigation partner Neel Lane, who, with litigation partner Barry Chasnoff, co-led the team advocating on the couples’ behalf, said, “I am gratified—no, thrilled—that Judge Garcia has held that our clients are entitled to enjoy the same rights as other citizens of this state to marry the person they love.  This is a great day for all Texans.”

Chasnoff noted, “Judge Garcia has added one more voice to the chorus that is rising around the country, declaring that all citizens have the right to marriage equality.  I am happy for Nicole and Cleo, Marc and Victor, who want nothing more than for their relationships to be treated with dignity.”

Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes said, “We are extremely happy—happy beyond words—with Judge Garcia's decision.  Having been together almost 17 years, we look forward to the day when we can get married and when all gay Texans enjoy equal rights to marry as well.”

Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra De Leon added, “Today we've taken a great step towards justice for our family. We are thrilled with the ruling and remain hopeful that this matter will continue to move quickly through the courts.”

The granting of the motion prevents state officials from enforcing Article 1, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution and provisions in the Texas Family Code that prevent same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses. The decision is expected to be appealed.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 850 attorneys in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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