Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled in their favor, writing that "state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution." The decision is stayed pending appeal in the Fifth Circuit, but Texas is now one of 12 states where courts issued (and anti-marriage-equality advocates appealed) rulings that same-sex couples have to be treated the same as opposite-sex ones under the law.Nineteen additional states allow same-sex couples to marry, and a majority of Americans now support marriage equality.Friday nights in Austin, Texas, are notoriously raucous: This is a beer-swilling, live-music-listening town, and all over the city the start of the weekend means a big night out, especially for the young and unattached.A few minutes outside the city, though, parents in quiet, tree-speckled suburbs are more concerned with lullabies than bluegrass, and bottles get sucked down faster than whiskey shots.When they came back to small-town Texas in the early '70s, there were two reactions: Either my mom was this beautiful exotic creature, or she was related to someone who killed someone in Vietnam. Cleopatra: We are really different in the way we grew up. Cleopatra: My mom valued education so much that she cleaned houses and worked at Denny's to make sure we could go to Catholic school. I studied hard though — I was the kid who chose to come home and read the World Book encyclopedia. I would ask my parents, "Tell me about someone in our family who did something cool," and my parents would be like, "We don't know anything because everyone died in the Holocaust." But Cleo's family descended from Martín de León, the only Hispanic empresario, and one of the founding fathers of Texas.My dad's family has been in Texas since the mid- to late-1600s. My dad worked in a chemical plant, and his father was a blacksmith who was illiterate. Very recently Cleo's family was recognized in the form of a statue in the state capitol.
On one Friday night in June in one of those tidy houses, Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra De Leon put their 2-year-old son to bed, stacked a variety of books and Elmo toys into a basket in the living room, calmed their barking rescue mutt, and tried to shoo one of the two cats off the dining room table as they sat down to discuss their history-making role in the gay rights movement.Dimetman and De Leon are plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the state of Texas's ban on same-sex marriage.Nicole Dimetman: My background is Jewish, and I'm a first-generation American Texan. When I met Cleo, it was like, "Cool, a story for our children!On my mom's side they came from Russia right before the Holocaust, and on my dad's side my grandmother was from Poland, and she came over weeks before Hitler invaded. " Cleopatra: I left Victoria for college — that was your way out.
Well, my mother and father are not of the same race.My mom is from South Korea, and they met when my father was stationed there. My dad was a doctor, and after my sister was born, he saw there were more opportunities for physicians in the States, so my family moved to San Antonio and I was born there. Nicole: I remember having to write reports for school about someone in my family.