Texas county issues marriage license to same-sex couple

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 19, 2015 12:02 PM

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas county issued a marriage license to a same-sex couple on Thursday in what may be the first legal certification for a gay couple in the state, which has a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only being between a man and a woman.

A Travis County clerk said the marriage license was given to one couple after a court order earlier in the day and the county, home to the state capital Austin, is not planning to issue more licenses to same-sex couples.

"The court order only applies to this one couple," said the clerk, who asked not to be identified.

Legal experts believe it is the first marriage license granted to a same-sex couple in the state.

A U.S. district judge in Texas last year ruled the state's bans on gay marriage unconstitutional because it denied the couples equal protection under the law. Enforcement of the decision is hold pending an appeal..

A Travis County judge ruled on Thursday that Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant must be granted a marriage license because not doing so violates "their rights under the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

Goodfriend requested an expedited issuance of the marriage license because she is in poor health.

There was no immediate indication of when the couple planned to marry.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott)