same-sex marriage

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton avoided contempt of court charges this week by issuing a death certificate to the surviving member of a same-sex married couple that was amended to refer to the men as one another’s husbands, rather than significant others. The AG also said the state would acknowledge same-sex marriages on death certificates and list both same-sex parents on birth certificates going forward.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton may face contempt of court charges next week for his part in denying a married same-sex couple a death certificate acknowledging their marriage.

A lawsuit was filed against Paxton today in federal court in San Antonio by James Stone-Hoskins, on behalf of himself and his partner, John Allen Stone-Hoskins, who died in January. James wants the death certificate to note that he and John Allen were married — the couple wed in New Mexico in 2014 — but as of now it lists him as a 'significant other.'

From Texas Standard.

The Texas Legislature officially named Dripping Springs the “Wedding Capital of Texas” this spring. Chances are good that when Texas lawmakers cast their votes for the designation they probably weren’t contemplating the Supreme Court docket. So how is the big wedding industry in the small city of Dripping Springs adjusting?

Kim Hanks owns Whim Hospitality and the wedding venue Camp Lucy. She’s been serving couples in the area for more than a decade.

City of Austin

Earlier this month, Florida repealed its ban on adoption by same-sex couples. That’s never been illegal in Texas, but whether or not a same-sex couple can adopt a child has always come down to a judge’s opinion. But with the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges last month, judges in Texas can no longer discriminate based on a couple’s makeup.

Laura Buckman/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Roughly 150 Texas attorneys have signed on to a letter threatening to file a complaint with the State Bar of Texas against Attorney General Ken Paxton for his response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.

"It seems to us that your edict to encourage Texas clerks to violate a direct ruling of the United States Supreme Court violates" the State Bar's rules requiring attorneys to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the letter states. 

Paxton’s office did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment on Friday morning. After the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide, he issued an opinion telling Texas clerks they did not have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it violated their religious beliefs — though he suggested that they could face litigation.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Today is the first day state employees can apply for benefits on behalf of their same-sex spouses and their children.

Every year, during the summer's open enrollment period, Cathy Terrell's typically pretty busy. Terrell and her team manage the benefits of close to 333,000 state employees and retirees with the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS). The ERS oversees the benefits of every state agency excluding the UT and Texas A&M systems.

After last week's Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex couples to marry in every state, Terrell realized this open enrollment season will be busier than ever.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The plaintiff at the heart of last week's historic Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage is trekking the country on a multi-state tour that brought him to Austin today. Jim Obergefell is the named plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

UPDATE Monday 1 p.m. A Texas State Senator is asking the Department of Justice to monitor and intervene, if necessary, in Texas' implementation of the Supreme Court's ruling that legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide.

The request comes after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an advisory opinion yesterday, saying some government officials could refuse to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, if they object on religious grounds.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT News

The first same-sex couple to get to the Travis County Clerk’s Office on Friday, before the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, was legally married over the weekend.

At their ceremony on Saturday, Lupe Garcia and Cindy Stocking seemed calm, as though they’d stood at the altar together before with Reverend Karen Thompson, but they were getting married for the first time.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

After the Supreme Court decision Friday legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, some county clerks around the U.S. began issuing licenses right away, including Travis County in Texas. Other counties held out, though, citing a need for updated forms that incorporated the new rule.

Those forms had been distributed by Monday, so more counties opened up marriage licenses to both same- and different-sex couples Monday morning. This is despite a statement from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that called the Supreme Court's decision "lawless" and said that Texas county clerks could opt-out of issuing licenses to same-sex couples if it violates the clerk's religious beliefs. They'd still face lawsuits if they did so, he said, but the state would provide pro bono representation in those cases.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Rev. Richard Bates, a retired Methodist minister, began performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples today on the fifth floor of the Travis County Courthouse, including Ted Burton and Darin Upchurch. 

First, they had to get their marriage license at the Travis County Clerk's Office. They wore tan linen jackets and brightly colored checkered shirts to the clerk's office. It was an emotional moment.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

*This developing story will be updated.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in the case of Obergefell v Hodges that state bans on same-sex marriage, like the one in Texas, are unconstitutional [read the decision here]. County clerks in all 50 states can now issue marriage licenses. 

Update 12:30 p.m. From the Travis County Clerk's office: 

Court: Texas AG Cannot Halt Same-Sex Couple's Divorce

Jun 19, 2015
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: As Texas waits on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on same-sex marriage, the state's highest civil court ruled Friday that the Texas attorney general tried too late to stop the divorce of a Texas couple married in Massachusetts.

Five members of the Texas Supreme Court affirmed a 2011 opinion from the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals that said the attorney general's office did not have standing to appeal the divorce between Texas residents Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly.


Religious objections to gay marriage would be protected from lawsuits, if a bill passed by the Texas House becomes law.

It got a first OK Thursday by the House and is expected to get final passage today. 


Today the Texas Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill — the Pastor Protection Act — that would allow religious ministers the right to deny performing a marriage ceremony to a couple if doing so would violate his or her religious beliefs. While the bill's sponsor, Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), acknowledged an anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer that could legalize same-sex marriage, he said the bill is designed to protect clergy members from potential lawsuits.  

Courtesy of Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant

On Wednesday, a panel of House lawmakers discussed a proposal to change how marriage licenses are issued in Texas, giving that power to one appointed official: the Secretary of State.

The bill comes after the Travis County clerk issued a marriage license to a same-sex couple last month, after being ordered to do so by a judge.

State Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) says his bill would take away the ability of the state’s 254 county clerks to issue marriage licenses, instead giving that power only to the Secretary of State.

Alabama Chief Justice to Speak on Same-Sex Marriage

Mar 16, 2015

Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore went to war with the Supreme Court back in 2003, over the right to display the Ten Commandments outside an Alabama courthouse. As a result, the Alabama Judiciary removed Moore from his post during his first term.

Now, Moore talks about who has jurisdiction over marriage and divorce, equality of rights and the future of same-sex marriage.

Frankie Leon

From the Texas Tribune:

In an email forwarded to legislative staffers on Thursday, a Department of Public Safety captain warned of "glitter bombs" being sent to state lawmakers and attached a document titled "Glitter Bombing: Weapon of Choice for Gay Rights, Pro Choice Advocates." 

According to the DPS email, passed along to Senate chiefs of staff by Patsy Spaw, the secretary of the Senate, state Rep. Debbie Riddle's district office in Spring recently received such a parcel — a spring-loaded tube filled with glitter. 

Courtesy of Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant

Attorney General Ken Paxton is calling on the Texas Supreme Court to invalidate the state’s first same-sex marriage. Paxton filed a petition with the high court just after noon today.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

Thursday morning at about 9:15, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant became the state’s first legally married same-sex couple.

You may have already heard about the marriage, but do you know what happened in the hour before that ceremony or the hours that followed?

Let’s spend a few minutes explaining what happened, and perhaps more importantly, what happens next.