On Thursday, February 19, the Texas Supreme Court granted an emergency motion requested by Attorney General Ken Paxton to stay two Travis County court rulings declaring the state’s law banning gay marriage unconstitutional. This action followed a Travis County clerk issuing the first gay marriage license to two Austin women. Texas voters banned same-sex marriage a decade ago via a constitutional amendment on the ballot.
Paxton had asked the Texas Supreme Court to block any rulings that “seek to undermine the constitutionality of Texas’ marriage law.”
In a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, Paxton said,”The Court’s action upholds our state constitution and stays these rulings by activist judges in Travis County. The same-sex marriage license issued by the Travis County Clerk is void, just as any license issued in violation of state law would be. 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.”
Previously, a state district court judge, also in Travis County, had declared the Texas definition of marriage unconstitutional and issued a temporary restraining order directing the clerk to issue a marriage license to longtime lesbian couple Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant. This ruling followed a similar ruling two days prior by a Travis County Probate Judge that the Texas gay marriage ban was unconstitutional. Goodfriend and Bryant were married in Travis County on Thursday afternoon, as Breitbart Texas reported.
The State has sought multiple stays from the Texas Supreme Court to prevent gay marriage licenses from being issued while the litigation in this case proceeds. The legal status of Goodfriend and Bryant’s marriage was not specifically addressed in the Texas Supreme Court’s decision, although Paxton has contended that it is void for not being in compll
In an earlier statement, Paxton emphasized, “The law of Texas has not changed, and will not change due to the whims of any individual judge or county clerk operating on their own capacity anywhere in Texas. Activist judges don’t change Texas law and we will continue to aggressively defend the laws of our state and will ensure that any licenses issued contrary to law are invalid.”
“Article 1, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution defines marriage as consisting ‘only of the union of one man and one woman’ and was approved by more than three-quarters of Texas voters,” said Governor Greg Abbott in a statement also in response to the actions by the Travis County judges. Abbott added that he, too, is committed to “ensuring that the Texas Constitution is upheld and that the rule of law is maintained in the State of Texas.”
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