Metro Weekly

Texas County Clerk Says No Gay Marriages “Just Yet”

“The County Attorney is taking a look at it…. But for now, the order doesn’t tell one to start issuing marriage licenses, so I don’t see a way where I have any authority to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples today.”

Travis County (Texas) Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir
Travis County (Texas) Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir (Credit: Travis County Clerk’s Office)

–Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, in a video interview posted on the website of the Austin American-Statesman following a Feb. 17 ruling by Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman that found Texas’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Herman’s decision that the ban was unconstitutional stemmed from a real estate dispute between Austin resident Sonemaly Phrasavath and her former partner Stella Powell’s siblings. Phrasavath and Powell were in a relationship for eight years and were married in an unofficial and unrecognized ceremony in 2008 prior to Powell’s death from colon cancer in June of last year. Phrasavath had asked the courts to recognize her relationship with Powell as a common law marriage. Following Herman’s ruling, Phrasavath told the Austin American-Statesman, “It was never about property rights or about property. At least for me, it was about standing up for my relationship and my marriage. If I didn’t do that, I would have absolutely no voice.”

DeBeauvoir, a marriage equality supporter, praised Herman’s ruling, calling it “very commendable” and saying she was proud of him. But she said she did not feel that she could begin issuing marriage licenses right away, instead deciding to seek legal advice. “It’s a step in the right direction,” DeBeauvoir said of Herman’s ruling, “but it’s not what we’re going to need to start acting just yet.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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