Texas AG says same-sex marriage is void after Travis Co. issues first license

Attorney General Ken Paxton says the same-sex marriage license issued by Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir Thursday morning is void but DeBeauvoir says the license issued was then and is now valid.

Thursday morning, two women were allowed to marry based on a one-time court order issued for health reasons. One of the women has cancer.

The Texas Supreme Court granted the requests of Paxton to stay two court rulings that declared Texas marriage law unconstitutional. Thursday's ruling originally didn't invalidate the marriage.

When Paxton said he was seeking to void the marriage license through other means, though he didn't provide details.

For the couple, it was a dream that became a reality after almost 31 years together.

Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend were joined by their two daughters as they exchanged vows outside the Travis County Clerk's Office.

"To be able to be married to the love of my life. This is just the happiest day of my life," said Goodfriend, 58, who is fighting ovarian cancer.

The order came in at 8:51 a.m. and by 9 a.m., Debeauvoir says the paper work was started to issue the license.

"I think a lot of us in the community over the years have come to the conclusion this is a civil rights issue. Even though I was following a court order I was happily doing it," said Debeauvoir.

Once the information was processed the couple walked outside to exchange vows surrounded by close friends.

"We can't control what the attorney general's office wants to do if they want to come in and try to undo this they well we have a valid marriage license and I don't think they can," said Bryant.

"Just a piece of paper but it means so much," said Goodfriend who alongside her partner held on to the license.

The future may be left up to the courts as far as the license is concerned but the commitment it represents will stand the test of time.

Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage in 2005. The law has been overturned by a federal judge, but the judge put the ruling on hold while the case makes its way through the courts. An appeal is currently pending before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The following statement was released by The Texas Supreme Court following the States' first same-sex marriage license was issued in Travis County:

The Texas Supreme Court has granted a stay of two trial-court rulings that Texas' amendment banning same-sex marriages violates federal constitutional protections to equal protection and due process of law. Motions to stay orders by two Travis County judges, one in a probate case and the other a temporary-restraining order granting a same-sex couple's request for a marriage license, were sought by the Texas Attorney General's Office.

In the probate case the attorney general also sought an order reversing the probate judge's decision in a case to determine a will contest. That petition for a mandamus writ remains pending.

Meanwhile Texas Governor Greg Abbot released the following statement:

Article 1, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution defines marriage as consisting ‘only of the union of one man and one woman' and was approved by more than three-quarters of Texas voters. I am committed to ensuring that the Texas Constitution is upheld and that the rule of law is maintained in the State of Texas.


The Associated Press has contributed to this story.
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