Author of book on fight for marriage equality, plaintiffs to speak at UNT on the Square

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 14:43
David Collins (left), author of
David Collins (left), author of "Accidental Activists: Mark Phariss, Vic Holmes and Their Fight for Marriage Equality in Texas," and plaintiffs Holmes (center) and Phariss will speak at UNT on the Square Nov. 1.

DENTON (UNT), Texas - In 2013, two years before the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes, a couple in Texas, agreed to join a lawsuit challenging their state's 2005 constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. Their challenge is chronicled in "Accidental Activists: Mark Phariss, Vic Holmes and Their Fight for Marriage Equality in Texas," published this past August by the University of North Texas Press.

The UNT Press will present a free panel discussion with Pharris, a Fort Worth attorney; Holmes, an assistant professor at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth and book author David Collins Nov. 1 (Wednesday) at UNT on the Square, located at 109 N. Elm Street in Denton.

The event begins at 5 p.m. Tonya Parker, judge for the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas County, will moderate the panel discussion. Collins will also sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase.

A retired English faculty member at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Collins received the top prize for "Accidental Activists" in the 2016 Book Manuscript competition sponsored by the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. The conference is hosted each summer by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism in UNT's Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism. Collins' prize included a cash award and a book contract with the UNT Press.

In "Accidental Activists," Collins describes his longtime friendship with Phariss, who was his student during the 1970s, and how that friendship turned to collaboration when Phariss and Holmes joined the lawsuit against Texas' constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. The lawsuit came a few months after the Supreme Court's June 2013 decision that restricting U.S. federal interpretation of "marriage" and "spouse" in the Defense of Marriage Act to apply only to male-female unions was unconstitutional.

For more information, contact UNT on the Square at 940-369-8257.


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