Hours after a Texas county clerk issued the state’s first same-sex marriage license, Texas’ attorney general said the marriage is void.
Attorney General Ken Paxton said Thursday that the Texas Supreme Court granted his request to stay two court rulings declaring Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
“The Court’s action upholds our state constitution and stays these rulings by activist judges in Travis County,” Paxton said in a statement. “The same-sex marriage license issued by the Travis County Clerk is void, just as any license issued in violation of state law would be. I will continue to defend the will of the people of Texas, who have defined marriage as between one man and one woman, against any judicial activism or overreach.”
According to the Travis County clerk’s office, Judge David Wahlberg signed a state court order Thursday, commanding Travis County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir to “cease and desist relying on the unconstitutional Texas prohibitions against same-sex marriage as a basis for not issuing a marriage license specifically to Plaintiffs Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant” because Goodfriend has ovarian cancer.
The couple married under the judge’s one-time court order.
The Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order blocking gay couples from obtaining marriage licenses after the couple wed Thursday.
Goodfriend and Bryant filed a petition for relief after a judge ruled Tuesday in an unrelated estate case that Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
Debeauvoir said Thursday she issued the license, but that any others must be court ordered.
“We are all waiting for a final decision on marriage equality,” Debeauvoir said. “However, this couple may not get the chance to hear the outcome of this issue because of one person’s health.”
Goodfriend and Bryant were married by their rabbi at the tax assessor’s office in Austin on Thursday morning, according to a news release from Katie Naranjo with GNI Strategies, a campaign strategy firm. They were joined by their daughters.
“We want to open the door for all LGBT families to have the right to marry in Texas,” Bryant said in a statement. “We were both born in Texas, came back to Texas after we met to build a family and establish our lives here. We plan to die here, and we have waited to get married because, as proud Texans, we want a Texas marriage license.”
Bryant and Goodfriend have been together for 30 years, Naranjo said. Goodfriend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May.
“I want to finally be able to marry the love of my life,” Goodfriend said. “Having faced a life-threatening disease I realized time is precious and that I wanted to spend it on the things that mattered most — my family.”
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SOURCE: KVUE-TV, Austin – Katey Psencik