Big week ahead for Texas laws over abortion, gay marriage

Couples Cleopatra De Leon, left, and partner, Nicole Dimetman, second from left, and Victor Holmes and partner Mark Phariss, right, talk with the media after as they leave the U.S. Federal Courthouse, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in San Antonio. The two homosexual couples are challenging Texas' ban on same-sex marriage and have taken their case to federal court. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The first full week of 2015 is a big one for Texas in front of a federal appeals court.

Both the state ban on gay marriage and tough new Texas abortion restrictions are being tackled this week by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments in both cases follow rulings last year that dealt Republican leaders setbacks to two signature conservative laws.

Up first are abortion providers trying to stay open following a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court. They will argue Wednesday that abortion clinics shouldn’t have to meet hospital-level operating standards.

On Friday, the New Orleans court will hear the state defend a ban on same-sex marriage. A San Antonio federal judge has ruled the law unconstitutional but let the ban remain in effect pending appeal.

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