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Texas Has First Official Same-Sex Marriage

Travis County Clerk

Texas’ first same-sex marriage is official. Watched by their two young daughters and a group of friends, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, who have been together more than three decades, were married Thursday morning by Rabbi Kerry Baker in front of the Travis County Clerk’s Office in Austin.

The office received a court order from District Judge David Wahlberg just after 9 a.m. Thursday. The judge ordered them to issue a marriage license to one couple in Travis County.

The district judge’s decision was made because of “the urgency and other circumstances in this case.” “And,” it added, given “the ongoing violation of plaintiffs’ rights, the court has concluded that good cause exists” to proceed with the granting of the license.

The couple had to sue County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to get to this point. Her response was that she would follow the letter of the law. “This is a medically fragile couple, one of whom might not live long enough to see the final answer from the courts about the outcome of the laws regarding marriage equality,” said DeBeauvoir.

Goodfriend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May and is undergoing treatment for the same. The couple believed they did not have time on their side and could not afford to wait on a Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

They filled out the paperwork, and the twosome was married within the hour, going back inside the county office to register the marriage after their ceremony outside.

The process they went through was the normal procedure that any other couple would have to also go through. According to DeBeauvoir, the whole matter took about 45 minutes. She said, however, that she would not issue any more marriage licenses unless they come accompanied by a court order.