1997 until now:
The struggle in Texas to legalize gay marriage:
On this web site, the acronym SSM refers to same-sex marriage. "LGBT"
refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender/Transsexual community.
Map of the U.S. with Texas highlighted.
"If marriage means everything, it means absolutely nothing." Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family.
"A loving man and woman in a committed relationship can marry. Dogs, no matter what their relationship, are not
allowed to marry. How should society treat gays and lesbians in committed relationships? As dogs or as humans?" A
posting to an Internet mailing list
A brief timeline of Texas activity promoting and prohibiting marriage by same-sex couples:
1997: Texas marriage law was modified to prohibit marriage by same-sex couples. This action was probably in response to an attempt to legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii.
2003: The marriage law was further amended to prohibit recognition of legal marriages solemnized out of state. This action was probably in response to activity in Massachusetts. It became the first state in which same-sex couples could marry.
2005: The voters passed Proposition 2, an amendment to the Texas Constitution that restricts marriage to "the union of only one man and one woman." The amendment was passed by a vote of about 76% to 24%.
2013-OCT: A same-sex couple, Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss, applied for a marriage license in Bexar County. They were refused. A second same-sex couple, Cleopatra de Leon and Nicole Dimetman, had been married earlier in Massachusetts, but the State of Texas refused to recognize their marriage. The two couples filed a complaint with the federal District Court called DeLeon v. Perry.
2014-FEB: District Court Judge Orlando Garcia issued his ruling in "DeLeon." Like so many dozens of state and federal judges between mid-2013 and now, he found the Texas state constitutional amendment and the state marriage act violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The ruling was stayed pending an appeal.
2015-JAN: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals combined the DeLeon case with two similar cases from Louisiana and Mississippi. A three-judge panel of the Circuit Court held a hearing.
Topics discussed in this section:
Part 1: 1997 to 2014: The Texas marriage law and Constitution prohibited same-sex marriage. Two couples sue. A federal District Court found the state law and Constitution in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Part 2: 2015-JAN: The District Court ruling was appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A hearing was held.
Part 3: 2010 to 2014: Public opinion polls in Texas show a gradual increase in support for -- and a decrease in opposition to -- marriage equality. 2015-FEB: A lesbian couple petitioned a state court for permission to marry on compassionate grounds. Travis County District Judge David Wahlberg granted permission. The couple married.
Part 4: 2015-FEB: Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) asks Texas Supreme Court to forcibly divorce the couple. The court refused, but did issue an order preventing other same-sex couples from marrying in Texas. 2015-APR: A prominent Republican, Cathie Adams, predicts the toppling of American culture if the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage across the country.
Part 5: 2015-MAY: Legislature debates bill to prevent issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (Being written)