Texas Attorney General: Same Sex Marriage Is Void
USA Today Reports:
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 Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order blocking gay couples from obtaining marriage licenses after the couple wed Thursday.
"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."
"When you get out of chemotherapy, I think all of us wonder if the cancer grows back along with our hair growing back," Goodfriend said. "This really is very, very meaningful to our family to have the kind of ability to make personal decisions, health decisions and financial decisions as a family going forward."
The clerk's office stressed that the order applies only to this specific couple, and any additional licenses issued to same-sex couples in Texas must also be court-ordered.
Texas' decade-old, voter-approved ban on gay marriage was declared unconstitutional in federal court last year, but the judge stayed the ruling to allow the state to appeal. An appeal is currently pending before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Courts made a similar exception in April for a lesbian couple in Indiana because one of the women was dying of cancer and wanted her partner's name on her death certificate. A federal appeals court overturned Indiana's ban in September.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to determine later this year whether gay marriage bans nationwide are unconstitutional. The legal tide has in recent years swung sharply in favor of gay marriage, which has rapidly gained acceptance, according to polls.