Texas plaintiffs ask federal appeals court to allow same-sex marriages

Texas plaintiffs (from left) Vic Holmes, Mark Phariss, Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra de Leon. Stacy Revere, AP

Texas plaintiffs (from left) Vic Holmes, Mark Phariss, Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra de Leon.Stacy Revere, AP

Texas plaintiffs (from left) Vic Holmes, Mark Phariss, Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra de Leon.

Plaintiffs in the federal challenge to Texas’ same-sex marriage ban are asking a federal appeals court to allow same-sex couples to begin marrying in the Lone Star state.

The Texas Observer reports that attorneys for the two couples filed a motion Thursday asking the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to lift a district judge’s stay of his 2014 decision striking down the state’s gay marriage ban.

If the 5th Circuit agrees to lift the stay, it would clear the way for same-sex marriages to begin in Texas. If the 5th Circuit doesn’t lift the stay for all same-sex couples, the motion asks that it be lifted for the limited purpose of establishing the parental rights of plaintiff Cleopatra DeLeon, whose wife, Nicole Dimetman, is expecting a child in March.

The motion cites the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to halt same-sex marriages in both Alabama and Florida, after federal district judges struck down bans in those states.

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“The Supreme Court’s actions indicate that the stay of the District Court’s decision is no longer necessary,” the motion states. “The District Court expressly found that the denial of the fundamental right to marry causes irreparable harm. Despite this, Plaintiffs continue to suffer irreparable harm — only now the potential consequences are graver.”

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia struck down Texas’ gay marriage ban in February 2014, but stayed his decision pending the state’s appeal to the 5th Circuit. In December, Garcia denied a motion to lift the stay.

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