Couples file court briefs in gay marriage challenge

Court expected to rule in the fall

SAN ANTONIO – The attorney representing two gay couples who want to be married in Texas filed a brief Tuesday asking that the 5th Circuit Court uphold Federal Judge Orlando Garcia's ruling in February that the Texas ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.

"Texas is a 'Jim Crow state' for gays and lesbians, with laws that are aimed directly at gays and lesbians to deprive them of their rights," attorney Neel Lane said Tuesday. "We want to stop that."

Lane represents Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra De Leon, of Austin, and Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes, who live in the Dallas area. Both couples have been married in other states but want to be married in Texas.

Last February, the Texas attorney general appealed Garcia's ruling with the 5th court.

Tuesday, Lane's petition asked the court to uphold the ruling.

"The 5th Circuit is a conservative court, but it is one that follows the law. After Windsor and the Supreme Court's decision, it is very clear that our clients have the right to be married," Lane said when asked if he was optimistic about his chances of getting the ruling upheld.

Lane said that he expects a decision from the court by this fall but acknowledged that in all likelihood the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the case.

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