Texas Must Pay Gay Couples’ Attorney’s Fees

NEW ORLEANS (CN) – Texas lost its bid to reduce over $600,000 in attorney’s fees awarded to two gay couples who successfully fought the state’s ban on gay marriage.

The Fifth Circuit on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling granting the award to the same-sex couples who sued the state over the constitutionality of its same-sex marriage ban.

A three-judge panel found that the district court “acted well within its discretion” with its award of $585,470 in attorney’s fees and $20,200 in costs.

“It also carefully considered the state’s many objections,” the ruling states.

The legal fight by Cleopatra DeLeon and her wife, Nicole Dimetman, and Victor Holmes and his husband, Mark Phariss, was spurred by Texas’ 2005 gay marriage ban, which collapsed a decade later with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

A San Antonio federal judge found the state’s ban unconstitutional in 2014 and Texas appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit. The New Orleans-based appeals court held oral arguments in January 2015 but did not affirm the lower court’s ruling until after the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision that summer.

A spokesman for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was “disappointed in the ruling” and considering next steps, according to the Dallas Morning News.

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