Austin Federal District Judge Sam Sparks surprised all parties when he decided to not force two couples who filed suit in San Antonio to join two other cases challenging Texas’ constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
San Antonio attorney Neel Lane, who represents the San Antonio couples -- Cleo DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman, and Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss -- is pleased with Sparks' decision.
"We are already briefed for a preliminary injunction," Lane said. "Our fear was that consolidation would slow down the process, that we wouldn’t get justice as quickly as we could under the present procedural circumstances."
Federal District Judge Orlando Garcia is set to hear the San Antonio case on Feb. 12, but the Austin cases won’t start until late summer or early fall.
Dimetman, one of the plaintiffs in the San Antonio case, said whatever the court decides, she and her partner are in this for the long haul.
"And frankly if it’s our case that makes the change here in Texas or another case that goes all the way to the Supreme Court that basically says that all of these constitutional amendments are a violation of the equal protection clause, I’m thrilled," Dimetman said.
Both cases are fighting to amend state law to allow same-sex marriages and develop a way the state should handle changes to other state's marriage laws.