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Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman at the 2009 HRC Gala in San Antonio

Lesbian couple seeks equal treatment with suit against Texas marriage ban

QSanAntonio, November 1, 2013

If you ask Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman why they decided to file a federal suit challenging Texas' equal marriage ban, the answer for them is simple: "It's important for our family to be treated equally under the law."

The couple, who until recently lived in San Antonio, filed the suit on October 28, along with Mark Phariss and his partner Vic Holmes. The four are seeking a court order barring Texas officials from enforcing the state's same-sex marriage ban.

DeLeon, who married Dimetman in Massachussetts in 2009, says their family deserves the same recognition that other Texas families receive.

"Tonight, my family had dinner together. We talked about our day. We put our son to bed. We are just like any other American family, and want to be treated that way," she told QSanAntonio.

DeLeon and Dimetman met in 2001 in San Antonio while Dimetman was running her own business and DeLeon worked as a statistical analyst and served in the Texas Air National Guard. DeLeon was honorably discharged after ten years of service.

According to information in the complaint, the couple supported each other while DeLeon completed graduate school and Dimetman completed law school. In 2012, DeLeon gave birth to the couple's son.

Having a child led them to getting married. “We knew we were going to start a family soon,” Dimetman told the San Antonio Express-News. “When you're bringing a kid into the world, you want to be able to say you're as married as you can be.”

However, since Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages, Dimetman had to go through the process of adopting their baby. "The adoption was an extreme invasion of our privacy, for no good reason," she told the Express-News.

Dimetman and DeLeon now live in Austin with their baby boy. Since news of the federal suit became public they have stepped into the limelight reluctantly.

“Nobody does this because they want to, because it's fun. It's just a fundamental feeling that I think every American shares — that I should be treated like everybody else," says Dimetman.

For both couples in the suit and for countless others throughout the state, equal treatment under the law won't a reality until the Texas constitution's same-sex marriage ban is overturned and ruled unconstitutional.



Former S.A. activist is plaintiff in suit against state's equal marriage ban

QSanAntonio, October 31, 2013
San Antonio LGBT leaders were pleasantly encouraged when they heard that two Texas couples, one gay the other lesbian, filed a suit challenging the state's ban on same sex marriage. However, many were not surprised that Mark Phariss was one of the plaintiffs.

Couples sue over ban on same-sex marriage
Express-News.com, October 28, 2013
A federal lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of gay couples challenges the state's constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage and seeks to bar Texas officials from enforcing it.