The Freedom to Marry in Texas

Winning Marriage: June 26, 2015

The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry nationwide on June 26, 2015, allowing all same-sex couples in Texas the ability to marry once and for all. The decision followed nearly two years of marriage litigation in the state.

History and the Path to Victory:

  • 1997: The Texas Legislature passes a state statute restricting marriage to different-sex couples. Governor George W. Bush signs the bill into law.
  • 2003: The Texas Legislature passes a state statute declaring that the state will not respect any marriage license or any other form of family status, and Governor Rick Perry signs the bill into law.
  • November 8, 2005: Opponents of the freedom to marry in Texas push through Proposition 2, a constitutional amendment denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry and any other legal family status. The amendment cements clearly discriminatory language into the Texas Constitution.
  • 2006-2013: As Americans nationwide engage in conversations about why marriage matters, national and local advocates in Texas take strides toward increasing understanding of same-sex couples and their families.
  • October 28, 2013: Same-sex couples and lawyers in San Antonio file a federal legal case, DeLeon v. Perry, seeking the freedom to marry and respect for same-sex couples' legal marriages in Texas. Read the initial complaint – and read profiles of the two couples, Mark Phariss & Vic Holmes and Cleo & Nicole DeLeon.
  • February 26, 2014: U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia rules in favor of the freedom to marry in DeLeon v. Perry, striking down Texas' anti-marriage constitutional amendment. The judge issues a stay in his ruling pending appeal to the 5th Circuit. Read the ruling.
  • April 17, 2014: Polling in Texas tracks marked growth in support for the freedom to marry, reflecting the power of the national discussion of why marriage matters.
  • January 9, 2015: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit hears oral argument in the Texas marriage case DeLeon v. Perry but holds off on ruling until a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • February 19, 2015: One marriage license is granted to a same-sex couple in Austin, Texas after a state district judge orders a county clerk to issue the license.
  • June 26, 2015: The United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the freedom to marry, ending marriage discrimination across the country, including in Texas.

Groups That Actively Worked on Marriage

  • Texas for Marriage was a campaign from Freedom to Marry in partnership with Equality Texas focused on increasing support for the freedom to marry in Texas.
  • Equality Texas is a statewide political advocacy organization working to advance the cause of equality for all Texans.
  • Freedom to Marry was the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.