County clerks in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio could keep their doors open around the clock, should the state receive a ruling lifting a ban on same-sex marriages in Texas.
San Antonio-based U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia is expected to deliver a ruling that could have thousands of gay couples rushing to gain marriage licenses before a higher court could overrule.
"The question is – will there be any time between the lifting of the stay by the district judge in Texas, and the appeals courts re-imposing the stay," Wright says. While the verdict is expected soon – if not today – it is unclear how soon an appellate motion would be filed. This has prompted some county clerks offices to say they would keep their doors open for extended hours to meet the demand.
Wright says that while a temporary lifting of the ban is possible, he has reservations on how the outcome may fair this evening. "I don't want to give people too much hope," Wright says. "The fact is that Attorney General [Greg] Abbott is not a dummy. He undoubtedly has a motion drafted and prepared, asking the Fifth Circuit to re-impose a stay."
If a window is created, and some same-sex couples are allowed to get married, states have historically had to stand by their decision. "Based on what's happening in the country – once you're married, once the government gives you a right, they cannot go back and take it away," he says.