Same-sex couple marries in Texas despite ban


AUSTIN, Texas – County officials in Austin have married a same-sex couple under a one-time court order Thursday, despite the state's ban on gay marriage.

County officials said the order was issued for medical reasons.

Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant have been together for more than 30 years.

"We've had a wonderful relationship," said Goodfriend. "And the ability to finally celebrate that, to be able to be married to the love of my life, this is just probably the happiest day of my life."

Goodfriend and Bryant are the first same-sex couple to successfully obtain a marriage license in Texas, in light of Goodfriend's recent illness.

"We're just very grateful that we had this opportunity to crack the door open in Texas," said Bryant. "We hope it will swing wide open for everyone very soon."

However, with the statewide ban on gay marriage, the attorney general is already working to remove the license.

"It's uncharted territory as to what the attorney general can do now that the license has been issued. Can the attorney general declare it void? That's unclear," said Neel Lane, a San Antonio attorney who represents an Austin couple who married in Massachusetts and is expecting their second child in March.

Their marriage is not recognized in Texas. Lane is working to change that.

"This is one couple who hired a lawyer, who persuaded a judge, got a court order, they went through all that process," said Lane. "These are things that opposite-sex couples never have to do. So we're fighting Fifth Circuit, so all couples will have the same rights as everyone."

Gov. Greg Abbott responded to Thursday's ruling, citing the Texas Constitution:

"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. I am 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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