On Thursday, a marriage license was issued for the first gay marriage in Texas, despite the fact that Texas has a ban on gay-marriage. A judge overruled the ban, and ruled to allow a couple, two women, to get married. Though this has caused much uproar in the U.S., the couple has told reporters that they are extremely happy to be the first ones married. Supporters of same-sex marriage are celebrating, while many government officials are outraged. One such government official, Attorney General Ken Paxton, is vowing that he will get the marriage voided.
It would be easy to say that it does not count, as Texas officials have made it clear where they stand on gay marriage. But District Judge David Wahlberg overruled the ban, when he allowed for the court to issue a license to two women in Austin, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, a long-time couple of over 30 years. He also waived the allotted 72-hour waiting period that is normally required for a justice of the peace wedding. The judge in Texas made this decision as a result of medical issues, due to the fact that Goodfriend has ovarian cancer. Rabbi Kerry Baker joined the two in marriage, in front of the Travis County clerk’s office sign. Currently, their marriage is still valid, for now.
The Supreme Court issued an emergency order that blocks same-sex marriages from continuing in Texas, pending further ruling from the courts. A statement was sent to the clerk’s office in Travis county, notifying them that the marriage was not legal and that a ruling would decide whether Goodfriend and Bryant would remain legally married. Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir of Travis county said that the statement was not issued directly at her office and that, as far as she was concerned, the license she issued was valid. The Texas attorney who issued the petition on Goodfriend’s and Bryant’s behalf said that the ruling would not matter, as far as they were concerned, because Goodfriend and Bryant are married. His exact words were that the ruling had “no practical meaning,” because, “we got our people married.”
The Texas government’s statement also warned other judges against trying the same thing. Though Goodfriend and Bryant were able to get married, they only believe it happened because they rushed very quickly to get it done. They believe that if the wedding had no happened so quickly that the state would have stepped in and enforced the constitutional law.
The two were married in Texas around 9:30 a.m. They were surrounded by a few friends and their two teenage daughters. They talked to reporters shortly afterward, calling the wedding a bittersweet reminder of all of the couples who are not able to get married. They called it an important day in Texas for justice and equality.
Shortly after news of the same-sex marriage hit Austin, Texas, not only were Republicans frantic, but so were other same-sex couples. Many rushed in to try to see if they could get a marriage license, but they were denied. The Travis county clerk’s office said that the license granted was ruled by a state judge, and under special circumstances. They made it clear that they would not be granting any more licenses for gay marriage.
Government officials in Texas are working in a timely manner to get the marriage voided, but others are celebrating, happy that Goodfriend and Bryant got their wish to be married. Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant may not be married long, but for now, they are the first gay marriage in Texas, despite the ban on gay marriage.
By Crystal Boulware