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Texas Ordered to Pay $600,000 to Couples Who Fought Same-Sex Marriage Ban

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Texas has been ordered to pay about $600,000 to two couples who fought the state’s ban against same-sex marriage.

Dallas News writes:

Mark Phariss and husband Vic Holmes and Cleopatra DeLeon and wife Nicole Dimetman waged a years-long legal battle to do away with Texas’ anti-gay-marriage laws. On Tuesday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals awarded their attorneys $585,470.30 in fees and $20,202.90 in other costs.

Phariss told Dallas News, “We’re thrilled. It means that our attorneys finally get compensated for all of their hard work.”

He added, “It’s kind of a little bit sad that it was a waste of taxpayer dollars that could have gone to other things than to keep two people who love each other from getting married.”

The two couples filed suit in 2013 to challenge Texas’s same-sex marriage ban. Phariss and Holmes were unmarried at the time, but wished to wed in Texas. DeLeon and Dimetman had already gotten married in Massachusetts and wanted Texas to recognize their union. This was before same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, but after the Supreme Court determined that the federal government had to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where they were legal.

A federal judge in San Antonio ruled in the couples’ favor in 2014. The state of Texas appealed, but the appeal never had its hearing, because in June 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.

Phariss and Holmes married in November of that year. But even before the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, the two picked out a venue and set a date. “We absolutely believed the Supreme Court would rule in favor of marriage equality, either on a 5-4 or 6-3 basis,” the couple wrote on The Knot. “We were so confident we planned this wedding.”

Both couples had been together for more than ten years. And both couples included a veteran: Holmes and DeLeon both served in the Air Force.

 

(Header image via the Knot)