Monday, June 29, 2015

Most Central Texas Counties Will Comply With Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Posted By and on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 4:11 PM

click to enlarge A rally was held Friday evening to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling. - GABRIELA MATA
  • Gabriela Mata
  • A rally was held Friday evening to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling.

On Friday morning, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. By Friday evening, the Bexar County Clerk's Office issued a total of 230 licenses, many of which went to same-sex couples who wanted to be among the first to exercise their marriage rights.

County clerk officials told the Current that the office cannot distinguish exactly how many licenses went to same-sex couples — the county removed gender from its marriage documents and applications — but the San Antonio Express-News reported Friday that over 100 couples showed up on the historic day. 

Although the office was prepared to do so, it did not have to extend its hours on Friday evening or remain open during the weekend to accommodate marriage license requests. However, the office confirmed that gay and lesbian couples were already lined up to apply before the office opened on Monday. 

Meanwhile, most counties across Central Texas did not immediately begin to issue licenses to same-sex couples following Friday's ruling. But many counties clarified Monday that they will comply to the Supreme Court ruling and ignore the guidance issued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to ignore federal law in the name of religious liberty.

An interactive map published by the Dallas Morning News on Friday indicated that four counties in Central Texas — Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe and Travis —  began to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. As for this post, the San Antonio Current confirmed that Atascosa, Hays, Frio, Blanco, Bandera and Edwards Counties are also now complying with the Supreme Court ruling. 

A number of counties indicated that they are willing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but cannot do so until their forms and software are updated. Those counties include Gillespie, Caldwell, Kendall, and Medina.

Wilson County Clerk Eva S. Martinez told the Current that her office will comply with the Supreme Court ruling after receiving guidance from the Vital Statistic Unit of the Texas Department of State Health Services to ensure the county's forms comply with state law. The agnecy confirmed guidance was relased Friday evening. Martinez stated that her office is currently updating its forms and will begin to issuing licenses as soon as possible. 

The only hold-out remains is Kerr County.

Officials told the Current that the County Clerk was waiting guidance from legal representation before moving forward with issuing marriage licenses. Assistant Kerr County Attorney Ilse Bailey confirmed that her office issued a recommendation on Monday, instructing the  county clerk to comply with the ruling and issue marriage licenses "to all members of the public without regard to sexual orientation." 

Kerr County Clerk Rebecca "Becky" Bolin did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

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