A Texas judge ruled this month that the state must pay $605,000 in attorney's fees on behalf of two couples who had been fighting for marriage equality prior to national recognition, according to the Texas Observer.
Cleopatra DeLeon and her partner Nicole Dimetman joined Mark Phariss and his partner Victor Holmes in suing the state of Texas in 2013 for its ban on same-sex marriage.
The couples could not be considered legally wed until the Supreme Court issued its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, allowing for nationwide marriage equality. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia sided with the couples on July 7, according to the Observer.
Under federal law, parties who win civil rights suits are typically eligible to have attorney's fees and costs paid for them. Numerous states fought marriage equality and states such as South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Oregon, Colorado and North Dakota have already agreed to pay millions of dollars in fees, according to Al Jazeera.
In Texas, the couples filed a motion in September asking for just over $740,000 in fees but were granted a lesser amount. "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,” according to the Observer.
Garcia awarded $585,470 in fees and $20,203 in costs to Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld, the San Antonio firm that represented two same-sex couples, according to the paper.
“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.
See how states will pay for fighting marriage equality in the report below from Al Jazeera.