AUSTIN, Texas — Texas’ attorney general has asked the state Supreme Court to void a same-sex “marriage” license that was issued to two lesbian women last week as the state does not recognize the union of two women as a marriage.
On Thursday, District Judge David Wahlberg ordered that Travis County clerk to issue a license to Sarah Goodbried and Suzanne Bryant as one of the women is fighting cancer. He also waived the three-day waiting period required between obtaining a license and the ceremony.
The women consequently obtained the license and said their vows before the county clerk in the presence of a Jewish rabbi.
But recently-elected Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an emergency appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, requesting a stay so that other counties did not follow suit. The court obliged.
On Friday, Paxton took the matter a step further in asking the court to void Goodbried and Bryant’s license, asserting that Wahlberg had issued an “improper order” in violation of Texas law.
In 2005, 75 percent of Texans approved a constitutional amendment enshrining marriage as being between a man and a woman.
“Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman,” it reads. “This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”
“The rogue actions of Travis County judges do not withstand the scrutiny of law,” Paxton wrote in a statement. “The same-sex marriage license issued yesterday is not valid because it conflicts with the Texas Constitution and state law—the license is therefore void ab initio.”
Paxton, who reportedly attends the non-denominational Stonebriar Community Church in Friar, said that Wahlberg acted improperly since the matter of same-sex nuptials are still before the State Supreme Court, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. He also contended that the ruling may cause confusion across the state and imply to other county clerks that they are free to begin issuing licenses to those of the same sex.
“These problems are real, not theoretical,” his appeal stated. “As this case proves, a single court’s erroneous ruling on Texas marriage law may be relied upon by other courts, counsel, and litigants seeking invalid marriage licenses.”
Both Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott, a Roman Catholic, have vowed to defend the state’s marriage amendment.
“As attorney general, I will continue to defend the will of the people of Texas, who have defined marriage as between one man and one woman, against any judicial activism or overreach,” Paxton said on Thursday.
As previously reported, a similar matter is playing out in Alabama as state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore has called upon probate judges in the state to reject a federal court opinion calling Alabama’s Sanctity of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Gov. Robert Bentley has made statements in recent weeks that while he personally disagrees with the ruling, he feels that he must obey it. His pastor, however, has counseled him to stand with Moore in obeying God rather than men.