In February, a U.S. district judge in San Antonio ruled that Texas’ gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia didn’t allow gay couples to marry right away, however. He issued a stay on his ruling pending an appeal from the state.
Next, three judges at the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments from both sides in this case challenging the same-sex marriage ban in Texas.
"That’s a tough one to stomach," said Mark Phariss at an event by Freedom to Marry at the LBJ Library in Austin on Dec. 15, 2014. "Our rights, to be honest, shouldn’t be up for a vote, and it shouldn’t be up to a panel of judges."
But Attorney General Greg Abbott, however, who will be sworn in as governor in January, says he believes the judges will rule in the state’s favor.
"The marriage issue is an issue that has been assigned to the states," he said, at a Dec. 8, 2014 press conference at the Capitol. "I would anticipate the Fifth Circuit would uphold both the tenor and the words of the United State Supreme Court decision that will allow states to decide this issue."
Oral arguments are set for Jan. 9 at the federal appeals court. So far, 35 states and Washington, D.C., allow same-sex marriage.