1:48 PM ET: See our update below.
Two same-sex couples are sitting in a San Antonio courtroom right now, as a federal court judge hears their case that they hope will strike down Texas laws banning marriage equality.
The case focuses on the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and uses the same strategy that won — at least temporarily — marriage equality in Utah and Oklahoma.
Theoretically, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia today could block a 2003 law and a 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the Lone Star state. But Texas republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for governor against Wendy Davis, will immediately announce an appeal and ask for a stay on the ruling, if Judge Garcia doesn’t stay his own ruling.
The case would end up in the conservative Fifth Circuit, and, like more than twenty other cases across the nation, might end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The AP notes that today’s “hearing combines two cases, one from Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit complaining that Texas’ ban unconstitutionally denies them the fundamental right to marry because of their sexual orientation. The other lawsuit was filed by Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, who argue that Texas officials are violating their rights and those of their 2-year-old child by not recognizing their marriage license from Massachusetts.”
Holmes and De Leon are both U.S. Air Force veterans who served in San Antonio, though both couples have since moved away.
“Denial of marriage equality humiliates the children of same sex couples,” Dimetman said. “An injunction gives our son the opportunity to escape that humiliation as he is not yet, but will soon be, old enough to understand and internalize what discrimination is or that it is being directed at him.”
UPDATE — 1:48 PM ET:
The judge today spent two hours hearing arguments but did not rule from the bench. “Counselors have made some excellent arguments on both sides,” Judge Garcia said, according to Lone Star Q, which adds:
He said a decision “will be forthcoming, at some time.”
Ultimately, Garcia believes the case will be decided at the Supreme Court.
Image of Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes, and Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman by Randy Bear via Twitter
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