Two Austin women were legally married Thursday morning after a Travis County judge ordered the county clerk to issue a marriage license. Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, together almost 31 years, said their vows before Rabbi Kerry Baker while standing in front of the Travis County Clerk’s Office sign on Airport Boulevard. The couple was denied a license in the same office building eight years ago. On Wednesday morning, state District Judge David Wahlberg, petitioned by a lawyer for Goodfriend and Bryant, ordered Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to grant the couple a marriage license. The ceremony was a mix of personal – with friends and their teenage daughters, Dawn and Ting, standing nearby – and public statement, with photos of their vows in front of the county sign.More from Burnt Orange Report:
With careful consultation by County Attorney David Escamilla the legal grounds for DeBeauvoir to issue the first of its kind marriage license was set. The ceremony was conducted just outside Travis County’s main office on Airport Blvd. just after 9 a.m. It was crucial that a plan be worked out in such a way that the marriage could be validated before anyone in opposition could react or be tipped off. There is no legal way for the state to invalidate a marriage other than with the consent of individuals or by death, so this will further put the burden on the state to find a compelling interest for denying marriage, not to mention the horrible optics that come with trying to void a consensual marriage.It appears that the judge's order may only apply to this one couple.
UPDATE: Yup, just this one couple.
This is a historic day for fairness and equality in Texas. The family that Suzanne and Sarah have built together over more than three decades of commitment to each other mirrors the love between so many same-sex couples in Texas, all of whom deserve the freedom to marry. The 5th Circuit should quickly affirm Texas’ lower court ruling and ensure the freedom to marry across the Lone Star State.