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Following Controversial Remarks Last Year, Pastor Joe Sullivan Back On Courthouse Steps

Ryan Loyd | Texas Public Radio
TPR News
Couples will gather on the steps of the Bexar County Courthouse to exchange vows in what is a San Antonio tradition.

The pastor who came under fire last year for his remarks at the Valentine’s Day ceremonies at the Bexar County Courthouse will be allowed to perform marriages again this year.

Last Valentine’s Day, a video recording captured his not so loving comments to same-sex couples who showed up to the midnight ceremony. In the recording, he can be heard saying, "If people are here just trying to be repulsive and offensive to people, you'll have to deal with God one of these days after this."

Last year Julie Pousson came to Commissioner’s Court to complain about Sullivan’s actions.

"It's just is not representative of our county or its people,” she said.

The commissioners agreed, and so did County Clerk Gerry Rickhoff. Rickhoff said the remarks would not be tolerated and that he would seek a more open process to invite other pastors to perform the ceremonies in the future.

Rickhoff said no other pastor came forward, and at a recent meeting with Sullivan, he gave him a stern warning.

"I made sure that he knew that we won't tolerate any hate speech on the stairs of the courthouse and I reminded him that our diversity in this country is our strength, and it's an integral part of America,” he said.

A phone call to the number listed as "Weddings By Rev. Joe Sullivan,"was answered by his wife, Carla, who said the pastor was not available. She said she would be his spokesperson.

She said her husband has a commitment to the community and disputed the objections to his message last year.

"Everyone is welcome to attend," she said.

For the 24th year this year, Pastor Joe Sullivan will marry lovebirds on the steps of the Bexar County Courthouse.

A special message from the Bexar County Clerk's Office:

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.