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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. I honestly wish the tree had hit him on the head. People like this, who spend their lives denying other people happiness, just deserve to die.
    Then we all truly win.

    Posted by: Scott | Mar 1, 2014 10:32:27 AM

  2. This probably the first time that one of these bigoted right-wingers actually DID have a gay friend (which some of them seem keep claiming to have)!

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Mar 1, 2014 11:48:51 AM

  3. I'm not sure I'll consider someone I haven't spoken to in 10 years as a friend? Is there a definition of friendship that I'm missing here? They are not friends, associates yes but not friends. With friends like that who needs enemies.

    And so much for the notion of people with near death experiences being more enlightened, thats down the toilet.

    Posted by: ny2.0 | Mar 1, 2014 4:22:47 PM

  4. Well, obviously the headline should read:
    "Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Gay Ex-Friend Face Off in Marriage Battle"

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Mar 1, 2014 4:42:46 PM

  5. They can not have had much of a friendship if they have not spoken to each other in the last 10 years. Could it possibly have had anything to do with one of them now being out of the closet?

    Posted by: *****overTX | Mar 1, 2014 8:29:33 PM

  6. If Phariss still wants to publicly accept Abbot as a Christmas card exchanging type of friend, he's just pathetic. People who kick you in the face don't get to remain your friends.

    Posted by: emjayay | Mar 1, 2014 11:26:55 PM

  7. Mark Phariss you are an idiot. People who oppose your rights are not simply people you "disagree with" and they are NOT YOUR FRIEND.

    Posted by: enchantra | Mar 2, 2014 12:10:19 PM

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