Texas is no stranger to hot-button issues in the Legislature—abortion, gun rights, immigration—but the one that has the power to reshape the state in a truly profound way is now making national headlines as it winds its way through the courts: same-sex marriage. That’s the subject that Pamela Colloff, who was nominated for a National Magazine Award for last year’s story on the death penalty, takes up in “To Love and to Cherish” from the March 2015 issue, which will hit newsstands and be posted online next week. Here’s a sneak peek at the cover, which was shot by LeAnn Mueller:
Pam’s story focuses on Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, a couple who live in Austin with their two-year-old son and a baby on the way. They filed suit against the State of Texas in 2013 (the case before the Fifth Circuit is De Leon v. Perry), charging that the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. As Pam writes:
The lawsuit coincides with a fundamental change taking place in the country at large. Less than two years after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in United States v. Windsor—which gutted the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman—11 states have legalized same-sex marriage, and judicial rulings have brought it to 25 more states. Texas, which passed a constitutional ban a decade ago with 76 percent of the vote, is one of the last, stubborn holdouts, though recent polls suggest that opposition around the state is also declining. Last fall, a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll of registered voters found that 47 percent of respondents said they did not believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry; 42 percent supported same-sex marriage; and 11 percent were undecided.
The recent news in Alabama indicates that the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear marriage cases later this year, may be inclined to strike down state bans entirely. Until then Cleo and Nicole will have to wait for the drama to unfold: “Until the Supreme Court rules—or until the Fifth Circuit decides to act—nothing is certain for Cleo and Nicole, who are having to again draw up second-parent adoption papers so that Cleo can secure parental rights to their baby girl.”