News (USA)

Same-sex couple married in Travis County, Texas, despite gay marriage ban

Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant were Thursday this morning alongside their daughters in Travis County, Texas.
Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant were married Thursday morning alongside their daughters in Travis County, Texas. Twitter

Updated: 9:00 p.m. CST

AUSTIN, Texas — Defying Texas’ longstanding ban on same-sex marriage, a lesbian couple wed in Austin after being granted a marriage license on Thursday under a special court order because one of the women has cancer.

Texas’ attorney general immediately appealed to the state Supreme Court, which later agreed to block other same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses but didn’t address the Austin marriage of Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend.

Attorney General Ken Paxton said he considers their marriage void, but a court hasn’t ruled on that issue. Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, whose office issued the license, said she still considers the marriage valid.

Cynthia Meyer, a spokeswoman for Paxton’s office, said Thursday night that the state would file additional paperwork Friday “that explains why the order and resulting marriage license are void.” But it was unclear if the attorney general or his staff had the standing to make such a declaration unilaterally.

The women were granted a one-time license in the liberal-leaning county after basing their request on a ruling issued earlier this week by a local probate judge who deemed the ban unconstitutional in an unrelated estate case.

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Bryant said Thursday that being legally married to Goodfriend, who has ovarian cancer, would ensure inheritance and allow the couple to make medical decisions for each other should one of them become critically ill.

“Financially, now we’re intertwined, and we will have community property that we will share,” Bryant said shortly after the marriage ceremony outside the county clerk’s office, where the couple was flanked by a rabbi, friends and their two teenage daughters, whom they both legally adopted years ago.

State District Judge David Wahlberg sided with the couple Thursday morning, directing DeBeauvoir to stop relying on “the unconstitutional Texas prohibitions against same-sex marriage as a basis for not issuing a marriage license.”

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