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Houston man challenging Texas' definition of marriage

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Just one week after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, a Houston man is taking aim at the state's definition of marriage.

Domenico Nuckols filed a federal lawsuit against the state, Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. He is challenging the part of the Texas constitution that defines marriage as a "union of one man and one woman."

"In Texas, I want to see everybody be married if they want to be married," Nuckols said.

In 1986, Nuckols says his life partner was deported when his visa expired. The couple did not have the right to marry to prevent the separation.

"We just want the same rights as everybody else," Nuckols said.

Bolstered by the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, Nuckols says the law is on his side. But KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy says the case could be thrown out. Because Nuckols is single, he lacks legal standing, or the ability to show you've been harmed by a law or action.

"The better challenge is someone that wants to move here after they'd been legally married in another state, they want to move here and they've been denied rights and benefits here," Androphy said.

GLBT Caucus President Noel Freeman agrees, but says the lawsuit's argument is supported by the full faith and credit clause of the constitution.

"States have to respect the laws and contracts of other states, and that's why if you get married in Vegas, your marriage is valid in Texas or Arizona or Florida or wherever you decide to go," Freeman said.

The National Organization for Marriage responded to this texas lawsuit by criticizing the Supreme Court, saying, "By their flawed and offensive reasoning, the majority has virtually invited federal lawsuits in any state that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

Gov. Perry and Abbott declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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