Jan. 23, 2014
A key hearing in a federal lawsuit challenging Texas’ same-sex marriage bans will go forward next month in San Antonio.
U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia, of the Western District of Texas, on Wednesday rejected Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s latest effort to transfer the lawsuit from San Antonio to Austin.
Garcia cited key differences between the San Antonio lawsuit, known as DeLeon v. Perry, and two other lawsuits challenging the marriage bans that are pending before U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks in Austin. Garcia’s decision to deny Abbott’s motion means a hearing in DeLeon v. Perry will take place as scheduled in February.
“The Court finds that while both lawsuits filed in the Austin court share a common issue with the present lawsuit in that all Plaintiffs challenge he constitutionality of Defendants’ refusal to let them marry their same-sex partners, the three lawsuits differ in important respects,” Garcia wrote.
Earlier this month, Sparks denied a request from Abbott to consolidate DeLeon v. Perry with the two cases in the Austin district.
Neel Lane, an attorney for the same-sex couples who are plaintiffs in DeLeon v. Perry, has accused Abbott of forum-shopping, since Sparks made comments suggesting he’d be unlikely to strike down the marriage bans.
The plaintiffs in DeLeon are seeking a preliminary injunction that would bar the state from enforcing the marriage bans pending trial. A hearing on that motion is set for Feb. 12.
Read Garcia’s order below.