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Federal judge sets injunction hearing for Texas same sex marriage ban

Texas state sealA federal judge in San Antonio  has scheduled a hearing for February to consider if he will issue a temporarily injunction blocking Texas’ same-sex marriage ban.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Federal District Judge Orlando Garcia set the hearing for February 12 at 9:30 a.m. at the John H. Wood, Jr. United States Courthouse in San Antonio.

Mark Pharris and Vic Holmes of Plano, and Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin, are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit, filed in October,seeking to overturn the Texas same sex marriage ban. Last month, the two couples also  filed the motion for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas against the ban.

Listed as defendants are Texas Gov.Rick Perry, Bexar County Clerk Gerard Rickhoff and David Lake, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The motion asks the court to enter an injunction barring the state from enforcing Texas’ marriage ban on the grounds that it violates the couples’ rights to equal protection and due process under the U.S. Constitution.

In November 2005, Texas voters approved an amendment to the state’s constitution defining marriage as consisting “only of the union of one man and one woman” and prohibiting the state or any political subdivision of the state from creating or recognizing “any legal status identical or similar to marriage.” Both Texas Gov Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott have pledged to defend the law.

If the judge grants the injunction, the case will be eligible for immediate appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit of Appeals in New Orleans.

The case is a part of seven similar ones filed in other states with the goal of eventually getting the constitutionality of a ban on same-sex marriage in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A lawyer for the couple has said if the case gets to the Supreme Court, the two Texas couples would join plaintiffs in the other cases to challenge same-sex marriage bans.

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