Texas issues first-ever same-sex marriage license

The Lone Star state could be next up to embrace marriage equality

Published February 19, 2015 5:16PM (EST)

                                                                                                  (AP Photo/Mathew Sumner)
(AP Photo/Mathew Sumner)

History has been made in the Lone Star state: A Texas county clerk issued the state's first same-sex marriage license on Thursday, following a Travis County court ruling earlier in the week that declared the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Despite pushback from state attorney general Ken Paxton, the couple -- Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant -- were able to petition for an exemption to the state's marriage law, allowing them to marry legally in Austin.

According to the Austin-American Statesman, Goodfriend and Bryant's exception is, at the moment, a one-time deal:

In their petition to [District Judge David] Wahlberg, the couple said the inability to obtain a marriage license was causing them irreparable harm, particularly because Goodfriend has been diagnosed and treated for ovarian cancer.

Saying they had no adequate legal remedy to enforce their right to marry, the couple asked Wahlberg to issue a restraining order directing DeBeauvoir to issue a marriage license and waive the 72-hour waiting period.

At 9:25 a.m., Wahlberg’s order arrived at the county clerk’s office. Bryant and Goodfriend immediately filled out the paperwork and quickly walked to the site of their vows.

“Given the urgency and other circumstances in this case,” Wahlberg’s order said, “and the ongoing violation of plaintiffs’ rights, the court has concluded that good cause exists” to move forward with the marriage.

Nonetheless, Travis County clerk Dana DeBeauvoir has already expressed her support for issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and is likely to continue to do so once this week's ruling is unpacked. Meanwhile, Texas' ban on same-sex marriage is still under consideration by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has yet to hand down a ruling.

Even without a statewide ruling, though, things have officially changed in Texas. "It's very exciting," Bryant said before the wedding, where she was joined by her and Goodfriend's two daughters. "My little one was worried about missing her history class. I said we’ll be making history.”

By Jenny Kutner

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Austin Marriage Marriage Equality Same-sex Marriage Texas