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Plaintiffs Renew Their Challenge of Texas' Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

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photo courtesy Bobak Ha'Eri
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Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Texas' same-sex marriage ban filed a brief in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 9, 2014.

Two couples challenging Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage are telling a federal appeals court that the ban, in their words, “defies logic."

In February, a federal judge in San Antonio struck down the voter-approved ban, but the state has appealed.

San Antonio attorney Neel Lane with Akin Gump represents the plaintiffs challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. In written arguments to the appeals court filed yesterday [read PDF version of brief], he reiterates the claim that the ban is unconstitutional.

"Gays and lesbians are not permitted to marry like every other Texas resident," he said to KUT. "Their rights are denied specifically by a statute that was aimed of depriving them of that right, and that’s the essence of a law that violates the equal protection clause of the constitution."

In its filings over the summer, the state argues the decision of whether to permit same-sex marriage should rest only with voters, not the courts. The appeals court is expected to hear oral arguments in the case this fall.

Lane says though the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is known to be conservative, he’s encouraged by a ruling last week by the  7th U.S. Circuit Court that struck down marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana.

Next, Texas is expected to file a brief in response to the plaintiffs' brief filed Tuesday. The appeals court will then schedule oral arguments, which could be as soon as this fall, Lane says, and a decision could come this fall, too.

Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act that limited federal benefits to heterosexual couples. Last week, more than 30 states asked the Supreme Court to settle the issue of gay marriage all together.

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