Federal judge rejects anti-gay group’s attempt to file brief in case challenging Texas’ bans on same-sex marriage

Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano are one of two same-sex couples who’ve filed a federal lawsuit challenging Texas’ bans on same-sex marriage.

A federal judge has rejected an anti-gay group’s attempt to submit a brief defending Texas’ bans on same-sex marriage.

The group Texas Values, formerly known as Liberty Institute, attempted to file a friend-of-the-court brief Jan. 3 in the case known as De Leon v. Perry. Two same-sex couples filed the lawsuit in October against Gov. Rick Perry and other officials, alleging the marriage bans violate their right to due process and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution.

The couples are seeking an injunction blocking the state from enforcing the bans pending trial. Texas Values filed a brief in opposition to their motion for the injunction. But U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, who has scheduled a hearing on the injunction next month, rejected Texas Values’ brief in an order dated Jan. 6. 

“Far from providing legal arguments, the Court finds that Movant attempts to present ‘social science’ which will not be ‘useful’ for the Court in making a legal determination of the constitutional issues raised in this case,” Garcia wrote. “The Court finds the interests of the public, raised by Movant, are adequately represented by the parties in the case, and granting amici status to Movant would do nothing to aid this Court’s evaluation of the legal issues in the underlying action.”

In its rejected brief, Texas Values asserted that children are better off when raised by a mother and father. The brief cited, among other studies, the widely discredited work of University of Texas-Austin researcher Mark Regnerus.

“This case questions the constitutionality of Texas’ sovereign decision to preserve marriage as the union between one man and one woman,” Texas Values wrote. “Thousands of Texans across the state support Texas Values financially and through prayer; and rely on Texas Values to be their voice for the protection of traditional marriage in Texas. Strong families are founded on the ideal of a lifelong marriage of one man and one woman. Healthy, enduring marriages enrich the lives of the couple, their children, and the community around them. For decades, the social sciences have provided clear and convincing evidence that not all family structures are equal.”

De Leon v. Perry is one of three lawsuits challenging Texas’ marriage bans in federal court. The hearing on the injunction request is set for Feb. 12.