Gay Marriage | Greg Abbott | News | Texas

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Gay Friend Face Off in Marriage Battle


Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is defending the state's gay marriage ban (which was struck down this week) in court, has a personal connection to the case in that he went to law school with Mark Phariss (second from left), one of the plaintiffs, and considers him a friend, the AP reports:

AbbottAfter leaving Vanderbilt, Abbott was crushed by a falling tree in Houston while out jogging. He was permanently paralyzed from the waist down, and upon hearing the news, Phariss flew to the hospital and spent two days with Abbott. He bought books to help him pass the time and kept Abbott's wife and mother company. A year later, Phariss said Abbott helped line up a job offer for him.

In the 1990s, when Abbott entered politics and was elected a state judge and later a Texas Supreme Court justice, he flew to San Antonio for a campaign stop. Phariss picked him up at the airport and drove him to meetings and a fundraiser.

Phariss, now 58 and an attorney near Dallas, said he was not openly gay at Vanderbilt. He dated girls and didn't ask out men, and didn't publicly reveal he was gay until his mid-30s.

Phariss apparently never came out to Abbott:

"If I was only friends with the people I agreed with, particularly in Texas, I wouldn't have many friends," Phariss told The Associated Press.

The AP adds:

Abbott made clear at a campaign stop Friday he doesn't approve of Phariss' quest to wed his longtime partner. He also expressed no sympathy at the thought of refusing his old friend the right to marry his partner of 16 years, Victor Holmes, an Air Force veteran.

"When the constitution is upheld, we're all winners," Abbott said.

The two haven't spoken for 10 years.


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  1. wow... whatta guy...
    zero character

    Posted by: woody | Feb 28, 2014 8:25:58 PM

  2. Pitiful!

    Posted by: deke | Feb 28, 2014 8:29:53 PM

  3. Yeah, a few decades, personal tragedy, and a black and white mindset have made Abbott particularly obnoxious and self-righteous. His Facebook page reveals him to be a teatarded fascist, not to mention a racist, mysoginistic, bigoted politician. Oh, oops. I was being redundant.

    Posted by: ESA | Feb 28, 2014 8:31:26 PM

  4. Entry #67,592 in the tome of "Republicans Are Cold-Hearted Sociopaths."

    Posted by: Kieran | Feb 28, 2014 8:45:32 PM

  5. I might be 'friendly' but would never call someone that actively worked to deny me equal rights a friend. Especially someone that had the gall to barefacedly refer to his bigotry as upholding the constitution.

    Support Wendy Davis.

    Posted by: RayRay | Feb 28, 2014 8:46:33 PM

  6. Abbott's morals & empathy have been paralyzed too

    Posted by: disgusted american | Feb 28, 2014 8:51:30 PM

  7. And he'll win the Texas Governor's race by a landslide because, TEXAS!

    Mississippi, only BIGGER and with oil!

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Feb 28, 2014 9:00:58 PM

  8. Exactly what Kieran said. How could Abbott forsake a friend like this? These Republicans should be the examples of antisocial personality disorder in every psychology textbook.

    Posted by: Håkon | Feb 28, 2014 9:19:15 PM

  9. Since the religious right argues that marriage is only for procreation and Abbott is paralyzed from the waste down, does that mean the religious right views his marriage as invalid ?

    Posted by: PLAINTOM | Feb 28, 2014 9:19:25 PM

  10. This is why I don't value a person by how friendly they are. Living in Texas, I met a lot of friendly people. That smile covers up a lot more than the big hair does.

    Posted by: Randy | Feb 28, 2014 9:29:32 PM

  11. "When the constitution is upheld, we're all winners."

    That is exactly what the racists said every time a case came up that challenged Dred Scott v. Sanford, and later on when a case came up that challenged Plessy v. Ferguson. But, then again, this is Texas: a state that still longs for the days of slavery, or at least segregation.

    Posted by: Gregory in Seattle | Feb 28, 2014 9:38:50 PM

  12. Republicans HAVE NO FRIENDS!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Feb 28, 2014 10:01:51 PM

  13. May he rot in that f*cking wheelchair. What a piece of sh*t.

    (It is *so* annoying that, if your comment includes a curse word, the only way to get it on towleroad is to alter it.)

    Posted by: peterparker | Feb 28, 2014 10:17:50 PM

  14. God sometimes just doesn't get it right. That tree was a near miss.

    Posted by: johnny | Feb 28, 2014 10:26:30 PM

  15. Never be friends with a Christian. Sure, there might be an occasional good one you'll miss out on, but 99% of the time you will be doing yourself a favor.

    Posted by: Merv | Feb 28, 2014 11:04:06 PM

  16. Who says Republican are cold-hearted, selfish bastards?
    (pretty much everybody... and they're right)

    Posted by: JonnyNYNY2FLFL | Feb 28, 2014 11:35:08 PM

  17. Pity that tree didn't land on his Head.


    Posted by: Bruce Wayne | Mar 1, 2014 12:36:34 AM

  18. when the US constitution is upheld, 14th amendment and all, we're all winners.

    Posted by: jed | Mar 1, 2014 12:57:49 AM

  19. Abbott, apparently, is sitting on his brains..., forever.

    Posted by: Sean Maloney | Mar 1, 2014 1:36:49 AM

  20. Merv: No I'm not one, but you mean Christianists/Tealiban types, not just Christians. The C/T crowd has tried to co-opt the name but Christians in general are often, you know, Christian.

    Posted by: emjayay | Mar 1, 2014 2:12:19 AM

  21. Greg Abbott: moral cripple. Worthless as a friend, worthless as a human being.

    Posted by: Jim | Mar 1, 2014 2:15:50 AM

  22. And thus conscience makes cowards of us all.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 1, 2014 3:23:03 AM

  23. Randy, that is a really deep insight. I seriously do judge people on how friendly they are, more than what they stand for. And then I am surprised when they do something like this. So thanks for that little nugget.

    There are many, many good Texans who would take a bullet for a friend and not pander to religious wing nuts. They just aren't in Republican politics. Wendy Davis needs to play this one up because I think many Texans would be revolted to hear this story.

    I know a neuropsychiatrist who sees modern day Republicans as medically disordered. He has a point.

    Posted by: Rob | Mar 1, 2014 6:25:59 AM

  24. I will clip this piece and send it to my niece who works on her campaign.

    Posted by: Rob | Mar 1, 2014 6:26:26 AM

  25. ... because this worked so well for liz cheney.
    turning on friends and family is so upstanding.

    Posted by: woody | Mar 1, 2014 7:44:12 AM

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