Supporters celebrate same sex marriage, AG continues fight
AUSTIN, Texas - Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked the Texas Supreme Court to declare the marriage license issued to a lesbian couple in Travis County invalid. Thursday, under a one-time court order, a district judge signed off on a court order instructing Travis County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir to process a marriage license for the same sex couple. While legal questions still remain Equality Texas is celebrating and hopes the momentum behind the movement continues to grow.
"I think there's a lot of interest and questions in terms of what does this mean and what could happen next. It comes back to anything could happen at any time," said Chuck Smith, the executive director of Equality Texas. Since his friends Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend got married in Texas Smith has taken more calls and emails from people curious about what is next.
Smith and other gay-rights advocates around the state are celebrating but also playing the waiting game as far as the courts are concerned.
"The politics of this really write themselves for the state parties," said James Henson, the director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas. "The Democrats are going to be energized by this but given the partisan universe here their optimism has to be a little tempered by the resistance here in a state that's dominated by Republicans," explained Henson.
According to a UT Texas Tribune Poll conducted back in October 47 percent of those polled say gays and lesbians don't have the right to marry where 42 percent believe they do. Eleven percent responded by saying they didn't know.
In 2005 Texans went to the polls and voted on a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. Henson says traditionally the constitutional amendment elections experience low voter turnout and it was a decade ago.
For Democrats he says there is a sense that time is on their side while Republicans have incentive to resist.
State Representative Cecil Bell, Jr. supports Attorney General Paxton's immediate actions. "My first reaction and it remains the same is it was a troublesome day for Texas," said Bell.
He has filed HB 632 which would make it illegal to use taxpayer dollars to fund or issue same sex marriage licenses.
"If someone felt Texas had moved politically to the point some polls suggest and some people will report then I would submit we would see that effort inside this body not outside in the form of a federal court wanting to impose that on Texas," said Bell.
Smith feels the argument of the 2005 election is weak and is optimistic that more same sex couple will one day get to marry in the lone star state.
Click here to see the Attorney General's latest filing.