Mark Phariss | KERA News

Mark Phariss

Courtesy of Mark Phariss

On Friday, a federal court in New Orleans will hear arguments about Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage. 

A flood of legal briefs supporting and opposing same-sex marriage in Texas have been pouring into the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Tuesday was the final day for the friends of the court briefs to be filed.

Friends from decades ago are at the center of the emotionally-charged, legal battle over same-sex marriage in Texas. 

But they’re on opposite sides.

Plano attorney Mark Phariss is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to a federal judge ruling Wednesday that Texas' ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

Greg Abbott, the state attorney general and candidate for governor, is defending the ban and has filed notice he’ll appeal the judge’s ruling.

Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A big weekend for a Dallas-themed movie; Greg Abbott's personal connection to the Texas gay marriage case; Allen ISD is closing its palatial stadium due to cracks; and more.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

What does Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have in common with Mark Phariss, one of the plaintiffs who sued the state to challenge its gay marriage ban?

They were law school classmates. They knew each other. Phariss tells KERA they were good friends.

And now the attorney general and Phariss, an attorney who lives in Plano with his long-time partner, are on opposite sides of Texas’ brewing battle over gay marriage.

Phariss told KERA Thursday morning that during law school at Vanderbilt, he discussed politics over dinner with Abbott and his wife. Phariss is a Democrat, Abbott a Republican.