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A Plano Lawyer Is Vying To Be Texas’ First Openly Gay Senator

Courtesy of Mark Phariss
Victor Holmes, left, with his partner, Mark Phariss.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Mark Phariss is running for state senate; Dallas County has an interim sheriff; check out Cole Hamels’ mansion he donated; and more.

A Plano-based lawyer, who sued Texas over the right to marry his partner, is running as a Democrat next year in a bid that would make him the state's first openly gay senator.

Mark Phariss is vying for the District 8 seat, which represents several of Dallas' northern suburbs that have long been a Republican stronghold.

Angela Paxton is running for the same seat, which was once held by her husband. She’s the wife of Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who told county clerks in 2015 they could deny same-sex marriage licenses over religious objections.

Phariss and his partner, Victor Holmes, sued Texas in 2013 over a statewide gay marriage ban. The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide two years later.

Phariss will face Democrat Brian Chaput in the March primary. And Paxton’s chief opponent is Phillip Huffines, the Dallas County GOP chairman and twin brother of state Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas.

One of them will replace the vacating Van Taylor, R-Plano, who’s running for Congress.

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  • Filling in: Marian Brown has been named interim Dallas County sheriff, stepping in for Lupe Valdez, who resigned to run for governor. Brown has been with the sheriff's department since 2014. She’s one of five candidates running to finish Valdez’ term. [KERA News]

  • Sacked sergeant: The Fort Worth Police Department has fired an officer after review of the arrest in which he was “impatient, initiated an unnecessary physical confrontation and then ordered a rookie police officer to tase the woman.” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

  • Big gift: Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels donated a mansion and 100 acres of land in Missouri to a charity that provides camps for kids with special needs and chronic illnesses. [ESPN]

  • Millennial draw: DPD now allows officers to grow facial hair. [D Magazine]

The High Five is KERA’s daily roundup of stories from Dallas-Fort Worth and across the state. Explore our archives here. And sign up for our weekly email for the North Texas news you need to know.