Texas History

Austin couple granted first same-sex marriage license in Texas history

Austin couple granted first same-sex marriage license in Texas history

travis county same sex couple marriage
Sarah Goodfriend (left) and Suzanne Bryant (right) became the first same-sex couple issued a marriage license in state of Texas. Texas Democratic Party/Facebook
travis county same sex couple marriage
Flanked by their daughter, Goodfriend and Bryant received the marriage license from Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir (center). Chuck Lindell/Twitter
travis county same sex couple marriage
travis county same sex couple marriage

On Thursday morning, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in the state of Texas. The couple was married in Austin by Rabbi Kerry Baker, and, according to the Austin American-Statesman, exchanged vows in front the couple's two daughters and a small group of friends and family. According to reports, the couple has been together for more than three decades.

Though a historical moment for the Lone Star State, this will likely be the only same-sex union in Texas for the foreseeable future. Goodfriend and Bryant petitioned District Judge David Wahlberg for the license, citing medical reasons. Judge Wahlberg in turn ordered Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to issue the license, saying not doing so violated the couple's constitutional rights.

In an interview with KUT, DeBeauvoir said this will likely be the only license she issues today. "It is based on the idea that there are circumstances with this couple ... one of them is medically fragile and they may not survive the wait on what the courts are going to rule in the future as a final decision about gay marriage," she said. According to a tweet from NPR's Texas Standard, one of the women is battling ovarian cancer. 

On February 17, a Travis County judge ruled the state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. Despite the ruling, the Travis County Clerk's Office said it would not start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, noting that the ruling did not instruct the office to do so.

Though Travis County is the first in Texas to legally issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, 37 states currently allow gay marriage, a number that is expected to rise in 2015. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it would hear four new cases on the issue of gay marriage. SCOTUS is expected to make a landmark ruling on the issue in June.