5th Circuit Court

5th Circuit Court

Landscape

The United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit covers three states: Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The circuit court is the highest federal court within that circuit - although, of course, its decisions are subject to potential review by the Supreme Court - and so a ruling in favor of the freedom to marry for a case out of one of the states would be binding to each of the states within the circuit.

This fall, at least one case - Texas' De Leon v. Perry - will be considered by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. On May 21, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the plaintiffs' motion for an expedited appeal, but a briefing schedule has not yet been set. Read more about the De Leon case, and see the other federal cases in each of the 5th Circuit cases making the case for marriage.

De Leon v. Perry

What's Happening:

On February 26, 2014, a federal judge in Texas ruled that laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying are unconstitutional. The judge also issued a stay on the ruling pending appeal, so same-sex couples were not immediately allowed to receive marriage licenses. The plaintiffs in the case are represented by private counsel. The ruling was quickly appealed by the state of Texas, and on May 21, a request for an expedited appeal process was denied.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to schedule oral arguments in the appeal. 

Key Excerpt from the Ruling (Feb. 2014):

"Texas’ current marriage laws deny homosexual couples the right to marry, and in doing so, demean their dignity for no legitimate reason. Accordingly, the Court finds these laws are unconstitutional and hereby grants a preliminary injunction enjoining Defendants from enforcing Texas’ bans on same-sex marriage." - Judge Orlando Garcia

Case Background:

On October 28, 2013, private lawyers in San Antonio, Texas filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of two same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry or respect for their legal marriage in Texas. In Texas, same-sex couples are prohibited from joining together in marriage because of a 2005 constitutional amendment. 

The two couples are Mark Phariss & Vic Holmes and Cleopatra De Leon & Nicole Dimetman. Pharriss and Holmes are unmarried, while De Leon and Dimetman married in Massachusetts in 2009 and are seeking respect for their marriage in Texas.

Other Federal Cases in the 5th Circuit

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