Friday, February 28, 2014

Marriage Equality Case Plaintiff Old Friends With Abbott

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Turns out one of the four plaintiffs in the victorious Texas same-sex marriage case is old pals with defendant, state Attorney General Greg Abbott. Plano lawyer, Mark Phariss, who has (temporarily) prevailed in challenging the state's ban on marriage equality, attended Vanderbilt Law School with Abbott, where they first began a decades-long friendship, reported Dallas TV station, KERA News.

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Vic Holmes (left) and partner Mark Phariss (right).

They shared dinners, long conversations and when a tree fell on Abbott in the mid-80s, leaving him paralyzed, Phariss flew from Oklahoma to be by his friends' bedside in Houston. Phariss even contributed to Abbott's campaign for Texas Supreme Court Justice. But the buddies haven't talked much over the past 10 years.

Today, the two old friends are battling it out in the courtroom. Phariss hopes to mend ideological differences and says, “I think [Abbott] would see value in my relationship now. Whether he would come around on the marriage issue is one to be seen."

In a possible nod to his long time pal, Abbott's statement following the decision appeared noticeably mild-mannered, “This is an issue on which there are good, well-meaning people on both sides. And, as the lower court acknowledged today, it’s an issue that will ultimately be resolved by a higher court."

The state is in the process of appealing Judge Orlando Garcia's Wednesday ruling which found the ban unconstitutional. The case will then move to the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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