Texas County Clerk Refuses to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples

Supporters of gay marriage celebrate outside the US Supreme Court.Oliver Contreras/ZUMA


Despite this morning’s landmark Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage across the country, at least one county clerk in Texas has refused to issue marriage licenses to two same-sex couples.

The Denton Record-Chronicle reports:

Denton County Clerk Juli Luke issued a statement that she would defer to guidance from Denton District Attorney Paul Johnson before issuing any marriage licenses in Denton County today to same sex couples.

“It appears this decision now places our great state in a position where state law contradicts federal law,” Luke wrote.

A sign posted at the clerk’s office stated that it would not issue licenses until it addressed “a vendor issue.” But county officials may also be waiting for guidance from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who criticized the high court’s ruling in a statement on Friday, calling it “a dilution of marriage as a societal institution.” The Austin American-Statesman reported that at least two other counties are holding off issuing licenses, but that three—Travis, Bexar, and Dallas—had already done so following the ruling.

Tod King and Casey Cavelier, who visited the Denton County clerk’s office on Friday morning to obtain a license after being together for 19 years, told the college newspaper North Texas Daily: “We were really excited this morning…We took a rainbow flag and hung it on the house. Then we came down here and got a little disappointed that they weren’t prepared for this.”

Other couples were disappointed as well:

Obstacles to same-sex marriage weren’t just remaining in Texas. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said in a statement on Friday that clerks would have to wait until the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals lifts a stay on a federal judge’s order to overturn the state’s ban on gay marriage.