Neel Lane Speaks on SCOTUS Marriage Equality Ruling, De Leon v. Perry at Akin Gump Press Conference

(Austin, Texas) – Today, Akin Gump litigation partner Neel Lane spoke at a press conference in Austin held to offer reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges from the two same-sex Texas couples, being represented by Akin Gump, who are plaintiffs in De Leon v. Perry, which they filed to overturn portions of the Texas Constitution and law that prohibit same-sex marriage. Also featured at the press conference was Chuck Smith, representing Equality Texas.

Mr. Lane said, “Today is a wonderful day in America. The Supreme Court of the United States recognized that marriage is a fundamental right for every citizen regardless of sexual orientation, that everyone has a right to access that institution. For us, it’s been a battle that’s gone on for years, and we’re gratified that this occurred today.  This morning, Judge Orlando Garcia lifted the stay on his order. As of right now, officials in Texas are enjoined from enforcing restrictions on same-sex marriage in the state of Texas; they will do so at their peril, subject to the penalties under federal law that are provided if they deny constitutional rights in this state.”

He added, “We intend to vigilantly guard our clients’ rights to the institution of marriage and those rights. The battle is not over today. This decision is another stepping stone in the march towards true equality throughout our society. Sometimes, the law moves the needle and moves people’s minds and hearts. Sometimes, it follows people’s minds and hearts. It did both today. We will continue the march towards equality today and for years to come.”

An Akin Gump team co-led by litigation partners Neel Lane and Barry Chasnoff won an initial victory on behalf of Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra De Leon and of Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss in February 2014, when U.S. District Judge Garcia entered an injunction blocking enforcement of challenged provisions. In February 2015, Mr. Lane argued the case, appealed by the state, before the 5th Circuit, which has yet to issue its ruling. (Learn more here.)

Akin Gump was recently the proud recipient of recognition from the LGBT Law Section of the State Bar of Texas for its “Advocacy for Equality in Texas.” (Learn more here.)

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

# # #