This Lesbian Couple Won A Thing: First Gay Marriage in Texas

feature image via ThinkProgress

Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant were the first lesbian couple to legally marry in Texas after a Travis County judge ordered a county clerk to issue a marriage license.

The state’s ban on same-sex marriage is still in effect, even after a state judge ruled earlier this week that parts of Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said her office wasn’t going to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because the ruling didn’t include an order to do so.

However, on Wednesday morning, another state judge, District Judge David Wahlberg, ordered DeBeauvoir to issue a marriage license to Goodfriend and Bryant after the couple petitioned for emergency relief, saying their inability to get married was causing them irreparable harm since Goodfriend has been diagnosed and treated for ovarian cancer. On Thursday morning, the two were granted a marriage license and were married by Rabbi Kerry Baker and were joined by friends and their two daughters, Dawn and Ting. The couple have been together for over 30 years.

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The county clerk’s office is not issuing anymore marriage licenses to same-sex couples since they were only complying with a court order.

 Update 2/19/15, 4:07 pm: Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed both Tuesday’s ruling and Wahlberg’s decision and received a stay. At this point, it’s unclear what that means for Goodfriend and Bryant’s marriage, even though they were registered before the stay. Paxton says their marriage is void, “just as any license issued in violation of state law would be.” However, DeBeauvoir believes her actions are legal and the couple’s lawyer, Chuck Herring, said the Texas Supreme Court action has no affect on the couple’s marriage.

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.

7 Comments

  1. There are actually others in Texas who married before; however, one partner in each couple identifies as a trans* person–which is probably why we have the above heading.

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