Discrimination isn’t cheap, and Texas is about to learn that the hard way.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia on Monday ordered the state to pay more than $605,000 in fees and costs to Akin Gump, the firm that represented two same-sex couples in a marriage lawsuit, DeLeon v. Perry.
The Texas Observer reports:
“It was important, at the end of the day, once we prevailed, to require the state to pay something for having made our clients go through this process,” Akin Gump’s Neel Lane told the Observer. “You really need to discourage, where you can, violations of constitutional rights, and the way you do that is you hold the state accountable.”
The plaintiffs’ attorneys had requested more than $735,000 in fees and costs, but the state argued Garcia should award only $383,000.
In his 10-page order, Garcia lowered hourly rates for attorneys who worked on the case, but rejected the state’s argument that the number of hours billed was excessive. Garcia also praised the plaintiffs’ attorneys for “excellent and commendable skill in prosecuting the case.”
Akin Gump represented Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin, and Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes of Dallas (above). After Judge Garcia struck down the state’s marriage ban last year, then-Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed to the 5th Circuit, which heard oral arguments in January but didn’t rule until after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Of course, the state’s tab for DeLeon v. Perry represents only a fraction of what it has spent defending the marriage bans. At one point, there were 10 pending lawsuits challenging the bans, the most in any state.
But the high price of bigotry doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for current AG Ken Paxton. As we reported today, Paxton is still trying to void the February marriage of an Austin lesbian couple, even though one of the women has ovarian cancer. Apparently, he’s no more a true Christian than a fiscal conservative.