Gay Marriage Battle Could Linger For Next Texas AG

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Two same-sex Texas couples challenging the state's ban on gay marriage in federal court this week could be a preview of future battles for the next Texas attorney general.

Three Republicans vying to replace Attorney General Greg Abbott said Sunday they'll continue defending Texas law that defines marriage between one man and one woman. The next challenge is Wednesday in San Antonio.

Two couples want U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia to block parts of Texas law prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages. The state wants the lawsuit dismissed.

Federal courts have recently stopped gay marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. Gay marriage opponents in Texas will likely soon look to state Rep. Dan Branch, Sen. Ken Paxton or Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman to halt that momentum as attorney general.