In West Texas, Some Counties Are Issuing Marriage Licenses for Same-Sex Couples, Others Are Not

This post has been updated.

With Friday’s Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, some county clerk offices in Texas, including those in Travis, Bexar, and Dallas counties, began issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples immediately. But in West Texas, most county clerks were not. They were waiting further instruction from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

On Sunday, Paxton’s office issued a non-binding statement that county clerks may opt-out of providing these licenses. In this opinion, he warned counties, though, that they should be prepared to face fines or legal challenges. 

The West Texas counties of Hale, El Paso, and Midland announced on Friday they would issue same-sex marriage licenses in accordance with the Supreme Court’s ruling. Others though, like officials in Ector County, reversed their decision between Friday and Monday, announcing they would update their forms and begin issuing the licenses.

It was a similar story in Brewster County and Presidio County, with officials on Monday saying they would abide by the federal ruling. The Big Bend Gazette reported Monday that Jeff Davis County will also comply with the ruling.

Several West Texas county clerks were unavailable for further comment.

We continue to track the changing landscape of West Texas counties on this issue. A county-by-county decision map from The Dallas Morning News is being updated throughout the week.

About Tom Michael

KRTS/KXWT News Director

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