If the United State Supreme Court rules in favor of same sex marriage this month, the ability of gay couples across the state to wed right away may depend on where they live.
It seems county clerks are taking different precautions in the lead-up to the high court’s decision. A sticking point between clerk offices is one of the forms in the marriage license applications that uses the language “male” and “female.
Dallas County Clerk John Warren initially stated that he wouldn’t issue any licenses to same sex couples until the language was changed, but now he’s changed his mind. Warren says his office will immediately issue licenses, and extend their hours to accommodate the anticipated turnout.
“One of the things I’ve realized in being a public servant is that I’m a servant to all of the citizens of Dallas County, not just a select few,” Warren said. “I would be ready to issue marriage licenses whenever the Supreme Court issues an opinion.”
Warren said same sex couples have already waited long enough for their licenses, and he will do everything in his power to end the delay.
“This is something the LGBT community has been waiting on for decades, long before I was in office,” Warren said. “With the crowd that we anticipate having, it would make sense to not have people waiting in line for hours upon end. I don’t like people waiting in line longer than necessary.”
In Houston, officials are going to take a different approach. Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart says his office will wait for direction from the state.
“Remember, as a county clerk, we’re basically an agent of the state in issuing these licenses,” Stanart said. “The authority comes from the state, so I’ll be looking for the attorney general for guidance on what to do.”
Stanart said he is concerned with the legality of revising the marriage license form, which currently provides two name slots: one labeled ‘man’ and the second ‘woman.’
“It’s not my form,” Stanart said. “Since it’s not a form created for my office, we want to use the form that is mandated by the state, and so it has befallen their direction.”