Judge Refuses to Combine Three Separate Challenges to Texas Gay Marriage Ban

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks (pictured) on Thursday rejected efforts by the Texas Attorney General to consolidate three separate lawsuits challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage, Lone Star Q reports:

SparksNeel Lane, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits, said he was pleased with the decision because it means a hearing set for Feb. 12 in San Antonio will go forward. U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia has scheduled the hearing to consider the couples’ motion for a preliminary injunction, which would bar the state from enforcing the marriage bans pending trial. The case is known as DeLeon v. Perry.

At today’s hearing, Sparks indicated the other two cases will be tried simultaneously in Austin — likely in late summer or early fall, Lane said. One of the Austin cases, Zahrn v. Perry, seeks class-action status for all Texas same-sex couples who are seeking to marry or have their marriages recognized. The other, McNosky v. Perry, is from a Tarrant County couple who are acting as their own attorneys.

The cases will now head to trial separately.