Sunday, March 15, 2015

First same-sex marriage issued in Texas despite state ban

Two women in the state of Texas, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, were wed on Thursday in what was the state's first same-sex marriage despite the fact that Texas has a statewide ban on same-sex marriage. Goodfriend and Bryant were married and given a marriage license by a county clerk in Austin, Texas. The couple claimed that, because of medical reasons, they could not wait any longer for same-sex marriage to become legal in their hometown.

Hours after word got out that a same-sex couple had been wed, the Texas Supreme Court blocked all other gay couples from obtaining marriage licenses because of legal challenges. Because of the fact that that Goodfriend and Bryant were given a valid marriage license, much debate has come up regarding whether the license is valid or not. "The same-sex marriage license ... is void, just as any license issued in violation of state law would be," stated the attorney general. The license was given from a county judge after the Travis County Court stated that the couple was given permission to wed because of their medical excuse. The Texas Supreme Court still clearly defines marriage as a legal and emotional bond between a man and a woman and was supported by an overwhelming majority vote. A lawsuit has since been filed against the clerk who issued the marriage license to the couple, which makes it seem as if the state will allow same-sex marriage any time soon. 

When faced with hundreds of reporters after their wedding, Goodfriend and Bryant held the hands of their daughters and said to the state of Texas, "There are thousands of gay Texans, Everybody knows one or two or three. Even if you don't know, you do know them. They may not feel safe to be out but you know them...There are many other Texans, thousands of Texans who would like to be able to have their loving, committed relationships recognized". 

I support same-sex marriage and believe that it should be legal in all 50 states of America, but unfortunately, it is not nor will it be for many years. I personally do not think Goodfriend and Bryant should have been granted a marriage license at it is still illegal in the state of Texas and ignites the idea of the "slippery slope". The couple, regardless of medical conditions that claimed their marriage could not wait, broke the law of Texas. I'm sure there are many other same-sex couples that could think of excuse after excuse in order to obtain a legal marriage license, but the fact is, these licenses are still illegal in the state of Texas. I think that Goodfriend and Bryant should have either traveled to a state where same-sex marriages are allowed in order to obtain one instead of becoming exceptions in their home state. As Goodfriend said herself, there are thousands of gay Texans who would love to have their relationships recognized by the state, and I'm sure hundreds of those thousands of gay couples could think of medical, legal, or other reasons to be granted these licenses, but they are still illegal. There should be no exceptions.

Do you think Goodfriend and Bryant should have been granted this marriage license? Are medical excuses a good enough reason to obtain them, even after given permission from a local county court? 


Ana M. said...

I agree with the author that granting this couple a marriage license creates a slippery slope and seems unfair to many other couples. However, I also believe that there was a valid excuse in this case. There is a personal compelling interest that should not be ignored by the courts.

Tommy S said...

I agree with the author as well. It is unfortunate that this couple cannot marry but there can be no same-sex marriages until a District Court or Supreme Court rules the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Coincidentally, just a week after this couple got their license a District Court in Texas ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The decision is being appealed so for now the Texas Supreme Court granted a stay on issuing same-sex marriage licenses until it decides on the case.