Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Bonus content

March 1, 2014

Gay marriage fight pits Texas AG vs. gay friend

(Continued)

"When the constitution is upheld, we're all winners," Abbott said.

Abbott said Friday he only realized Phariss was gay when his name appeared on the lawsuit, and said Phariss' sexuality doesn't change his opinion of him.

"It shows that on some of the hot-button issues of the day, we can have a civil discourse without harsh rhetoric," Abbott said.

Phariss and Abbott first met at Vanderbilt Law School. Phariss described two southerners — Phariss is from Oklahoma — and ideological opposites drawn together by their enjoyment of discussing politics over breezy dinners.

After leaving Vanderbilt, Abbott was crushed by a falling tree in Houston while out jogging. He was permanently paralyzed from the waist down, and upon hearing the news, Phariss flew to the hospital and spent two days with Abbott. He bought books to help him pass the time and kept Abbott's wife and mother company. A year later, Phariss said Abbott helped line up a job offer for him.

In the 1990s, when Abbott entered politics and was elected a state judge and later a Texas Supreme Court justice, he flew to San Antonio for a campaign stop. Phariss picked him up at the airport and drove him to meetings and a fundraiser.

Phariss, now 54 and an attorney near Dallas, said he was not openly gay at Vanderbilt. He dated girls and didn't ask out men, and didn't publicly reveal he was gay until his mid-30s.

Phariss said that while he and Abbott never discussed gay rights, he never detected hatred from his friend — who is now one of Texas' most conservative political leaders.

"I don't perceive from him any animus toward gay people," Phariss said. "I do remember, either in law school or after, (talking) about someone we thought might have been gay — we just kind of speculated whether a certain person might be gay. He didn't seem to have an issue with that."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Bonus content
  • Honda Tougher Compact Car [Duplicate] Honda bolsters Fit to boost crash resistance DETROIT (AP) — When the subcompact Fit failed a crash test, Honda went back to the drawing board. The tiny Fit, redesigned for the 2015 model year, initially flunked the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap test, earning just a "Mar

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police Body Cameras [Duplicate] Ferguson fallout: A call for police 'body cams' NEW YORK (AP) — What if Michael Brown's last moments had been recorded? The fatal police shooting of the unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, is prompting calls for more officers to wear so-called body cameras, simple, lapel-mounted gadge

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Postal Service has 600 rural Indiana spots open INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service has openings for 600 part-time rural postal carriers across Indiana. The Postal Service announced the job openings Thursday in several ZIP Codes in the Greater Indiana District. It says interested applicant

    August 22, 2014

  • Police investigate bathtub death of Monticello boy MONTICELLO (AP) — State police say an investigation is underway into the death of a 5-year-old northern Indiana boy who reportedly was found not breathing in a bathtub. Sgt. Kim Riley says Ian Davidson died Thursday at an Indianapolis hospital, where

    August 22, 2014

  • Emmys-Robin Williams [Duplicate] Emmys: Billy Crystal to pay tribute to Williams LOS ANGELES (AP) — Billy Crystal will pay tribute to Robin Williams, his longtime friend and fellow comedian, at next week's Emmy Awards. Crystal will honor Williams as part of the traditional "in memoriam" segment for industry members who died durin

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Slain journalist spent time with Indiana troops INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State extremist group had gone to Iraq with Indiana National Guard soldiers during a 2008 deployment. James Foley was embedded with members of the Indiana Guard's 76th Infantry Briga

    August 21, 2014

  • Hundreds attend vigil for missing SW Indiana women BOONVILLE (AP) — A few hundred people gathered at a prayer vigil for women missing in southwestern Indiana, including a 27-year-old mother of two children who was last seen nearly a week ago. Many in the crowd outside the Warrick County Courthouse in

    August 21, 2014

  • Missing American-Syria-6 [Duplicate] Slain American journalist remembered as driven ROCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — In 2011, just after James Foley was released from the Libyan prison where he'd been held for six weeks, he acknowledged the peril journalists face covering the world's most dangerous places, soberly conceding that a mistake cou

    August 21, 2014 7 Photos

  • Man rides stolen shopping scooter to probation meeting ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque, New Mexico, man is facing charges after police say he drove a stolen electric shopping cart to meet with his probation officer. KOAT-TV reports court papers say 18-year-old Michael Johnson rode the electric s

    August 20, 2014

  • Police have beef with man accused of being meat thief PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police have a beef with a man they say stole meat worth $2,700 from three Safeway stores in Portland, Oregon. Police say 53-year-old Barry T. Sanders was caught on video hiding meat in a shopping cart at least 13 times in July

    August 20, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Hamm Talks Emmy Chances Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Raw: Egypt Bus Crash Kills at Least 33 Two Bodies Found in Adjacent Yards Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Rescue Efforts Suspended at Japan Landslide Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Raw: Smaller Marches in Ferguson Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer Ky. Firefighters Hurt in Ice Bucket Challenge Federal Investigation Will Look at Use of Force Community Deals With Michael Brown Aftermath US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller