Connect with us

Texas Gay Marriage Plaintiff Snubs Gov. Abbott On Wedding Invite



Issue still divides former law school buddies.

Anti-gay Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott and Mark Phariss were good law school buddies at Vanderbilt University in the early 1980s. 

In fact, when Abbott was hit by a falling tree limb while jogging in 1984, leaving him paralyzed, Phariss (image, left) flew from Tulsa to Houston to visit his bedside.

But after Phariss became a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit challenging Texas’ same-sex marriage ban in 2013, their relationship grew strained. Abbott, then the state’s attorney general, vigorously defended the law, fighting to deny equal rights to his old friend. 

On Friday, Phariss and his partner of 18 years, Vic Holmes, finally obtained their marriage license after prevailing in the lawsuit. The couple now plans a “Texas-sized wedding” in November, but Phariss says even though he’s continued to exchange Christmas cards with the governor over the years, Abbott won’t be on the list of invitees. 

“We want people there who are supportive,” Phariss told The New Civil Rights Movement. “We don’t want a zoo for a wedding, and having Greg there, while that would be a plus in terms of how we’re moving people along, he would never come anyway.” 

When Abbott was asked in early June if he’d attend a same-sex wedding, he dodged the question by saying, “A gay marriage in Texas would be illegal, and so I’d probably would not attend an illegal event.”

A spokesman for Abbott’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday about whether the governor would have attended Phariss and Holmes’ wedding had he been invited. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a GOP presidential candidate who opposes same-sex marriage, attended the wedding of a gay friend earlier this year. Other GOP presidential candidates have also said they’d attend a same-sex wedding. 

But for Abbott, a devout Catholic who leads the nation’s largest red state, attending a same-sex wedding could be politically risky. 

“The Supreme Court has abandoned its role as an impartial judicial arbiter and has become an unelected nine-member legislature,” Abbott said in a a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. “Five Justices on the Supreme Court have imposed on the entire country their personal views on an issue that the Constitution and the Court’s previous decisions reserve to the people of the States.”

Phariss said both he and Abbott were invited to discuss the Texas marriage case at the Vanderbilt law school’s upcoming reunion in October, but Abbott declined.  

Although Abbott won’t be on hand for the wedding, plenty of other dignitaries will. They include Texas marriage co-plaintiffs Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman, openly gay Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Phariss said. DOMA-busting attorney Robbie Kaplan is a maybe, but Neel Lane, who represented the couples in the Texas lawsuit, will deliver a toast.   

Phariss and Holmes, an Air Force veteran, obtained their marriage license Friday from the Bexar County Clerk’s Office in San Antonio, where they were turned away in 2013 and told, “We don’t do that in Texas.” Bexar County Clerk Gerard “Gerry” Rickhoff, one of the few Republican elected officials in the state who publicly supports marriage equality, personally issued the license to Phariss and Holmes. 

“That was the law of the land back then and so today I’m happy to be on the right side of history where we have an enlightenment attitude,” said Rickhoff.

Phariss said 250-300 people are expected to attend the wedding in their hometown of Frisco, a conservative Dallas suburb. 

“Our rings — wedding bands with one diamond embedded in each from diamonds previously included in a ring of my deceased father — will be carried on two flags, both courtesy of Sen. Harry Reid’s office,” Phariss said. “One flew over the U.S. Capitol on April 28, 2015, the date SCOTUS held hearings in Obergefell, and the other flew over the U.S. Capitol on June 26, 2015, the date SCOTUS issued its decision in Obergefell.

“This is what the marriage equality fight was all about — enabling couples who loved each other to marry, a right the U.S. Supreme Court correctly said is fundamental to us all,” he added. “Love, equality and justice won.”

Sadly, in addition to Abbott, some of the couple’s closest relatives will be absent from the ceremony, including Phariss’ twin sister and Holmes’ parents, due to their opposition to same-sex marriage.  

“To be honest, he’s kind of lower on my list of who I care about who’s not coming to my wedding,” Phariss said of the governor. “I’m more offended by Vic’s parents and my sister.”


Image by Scott Hagar, courtesy of the couple
Video via Fox San Antonio

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


Trump Reverses on Illegal Hosting of G-7 at His Own Resort – Blames ‘Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility’



President Donald Trump late Saturday night finally reversed his decision to host the G-7 at his Doral Miami resort in June of 2020. Ignoring numerous Republican lawmakers, legal experts, and bipartisan condemnation of his unconstitutional and illegal decision the president instead blamed the “Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility.”

Curiously, Trump announced his administration would “begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately.”

But on Thursday Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters at a rare White House briefing that the administration had conducted an exhaustive search for the best space to host the G-7 leaders, and fairly decided Trump’s Doral Miami resort was “perfect.”

Earlier: Trump Mocked After Saying He Thought Violating the Constitution and Profiting From G7 Hosting Was ‘Good for Our Country’

Mulvaney went so far as to claim the White House had looked at 12 locations, including two in Utah, but decided on the Doral.

He also preemptively refused to release any emails or other items documenting the search process.

But if an actual search had been conducted, it would make sense to simply announce the 2020 G-7 would be held at the next “best” locale. Instead, Trump announced a new search would be conducted.


Continue Reading


Trump Mocked After Saying He Thought Violating the Constitution and Profiting From G7 Hosting Was ‘Good for Our Country’



‘Bro Tweeted Out an Ad’

After tremendous public and private  bipartisan condemnation of his decision to host the 2020 G-7 at his own Miami resort President Donald Trump Saturday night appeared to be laying the groundwork of reversing the unconstitutional and illegal decision.

In an insane series of tweets the president did what he always does: blamed the media for holding his feet to the fire in accurately reporting the consequences of his actions.

“I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders. It is big, grand, on hundreds of acres, next to MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, has tremendous ballrooms & meeting rooms,” Trump tweeted, adding that “each delegation would have its own 50 to 70 unit building. Would set up better than other alternatives. I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA. But, as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!”

Also going “crazy” are Republicans and legal experts.

Should Trump host the G-7 at any of his properties he would reportedly be violating at least one if not several laws, and the U.S. Constitution.

Many quickly took to Twitter to express their condemnation yet again.



Continue Reading

2020 Road to the White House

‘This Is a Real Warning’: Ex-Campaign Aide Bluntly States Clinton Didn’t Go Far Enough Criticizing Tulsi Gabbard



On MSNBC Saturday, former Clinton campaign official and director of SiriusXM progressive programming Zerlina Maxwell said that not only did Hillary Clinton do nothing wrong for criticizing Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), she should have if anything gone even harder.

“I think she didn’t go far enough, and we have to decide whether or not we’ll listen to Hillary Clinton, who lived through this in 2016, or whether or not we’re going to do what we did in 2016, is decide that what she’s saying is irrelevant because of how we feel personally about her, and I think that that would be a mistake,” said Maxwell.

Related: ‘Malevolent Kraken’: Tulsi Gabbard Mocked After Attacking Hillary Clinton Over Claim Russia Is Grooming a Woman Democrat

“In 2016, anchors literally laughed at Hillary Clinton when she said it was Russia,” Maxwell continued. “Robby Mook went on television and said, ‘It was Russia that was hacking our emails and releasing them on Wikileaks.’ We were laughed at. I would like everyone to listen to us now because I, on the campaign, had that red banner over my email that said, ‘Government hackers are trying to infiltrate your account.’ So, this is a real warning. And I think that we would be smart to listen before it’s too late.”

Watch below:

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2019 AlterNet Media.