Two Austin women became the first gay couple to legally marry in the state of Texas on Thursday.
KXAN-TV reports that this all started when a Travis County judge, who had earlier in the week ruled the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, ordered an Austin clerk to issue a marriage license to Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant.
The Austin American Statesman reports that as soon as the order came through, Goodfriend and Bryant rushed to the clerk’s office, where they were handed the license. Quickly, and just outside the office, they were lawfully married.
The paper posted video of the ceremony.
Shortly after the ceremony, the Texas governor and the Texas attorney general issued statements questioning the legality of the marriage.
“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,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “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.”
In his statement, Gov. Greg Abbott simply pointed to the state Constitution.
At Paxton’s request, the Texas Supreme Court put the Travis County judge’s rulings on hold.
The Statesman spoke to Chuck Herring, a lawyer for the couple, who said the state Supreme Court’s decision has no bearing on the couple’s marriage.
“In our view, there’s no practical meaning,” Herring said. “We got our people married.”
Of course, all of this will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court this term. Texas is part of the 5th Circuit in the appeals court system. That court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of gay marriage, so Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage is still the law of the land.