Metro Weekly

States start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

Though not all governors are entirely happy about it

Photo by Todd Franson
Photo by Todd Franson

In light of today’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, states across America are reversing decisions on marriage bans and will start to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

What follows is a confirmed list of states that will be issuing licenses or that have responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling. We’ll update throughout the day.

Texas

Travis County in Texas has already started to issue marriage licenses:

Dallas County officials can waive the 72-hour waiting period for couples issued with marriage licenses, with Judge Ken Molberg indicating that judges will be available today for couples wishing to wed.

Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked for county clerks to wait for his direction, according to Click2Houston, but no such instructions have yet appeared. Meanwhile, in a statement, Texas Governor Greg Abbott will be instructing state agencies “instructing them to prioritize the protection of Texans’ religious liberties.” He decried “an unelected nine-member legislature… [imposing] on the entire county their personal views.”

Georgia

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has indicated that his state will comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Georgia’s attorney general has informed state agencies to “ensure that their practices conform to the current state of the law.”

Kentucky

“The fractured laws across the country concerning same-sex marriage had created an unsustainable and unbalanced legal environment, wherein citizens were treated differently depending on the state in which they resided,” Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said in a statement. “That situation was unfair, no matter which side of the debate you may support…. Effective today, Kentucky will recognize as valid all same-sex marriages performed in other states and in Kentucky. I have instructed the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives to provide revised marriage license forms to our county clerks for immediate use, beginning today.”

Arkansas

Several counties will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, while the executive director of the Association of Arkansas Counties said his group will be instructing state officials to issue marriage licenses to couples.

“It is the law of the land now,” he told the Associated Press. “It is our opinion that that ruling does stand and they will need to follow it.”

Some counties are delaying implementation, either to update forms — Boone County — or to wait from an official directive from their chief clerk — Grant County.

Nebraska

“The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken and ruled state same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “While 70 percent of Nebraskans approved our amendment to our state constitution that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, the highest court in the land has ruled states cannot place limits on marriage between same-sex couples. We will follow the law and respect the ruling outlined by the court.”

Missouri

“Today’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is a major victory for equality and an important step toward a fairer and more just society for all Americans,” said Governor Jay Nixon. “No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love. In the coming days, I will be taking all necessary and appropriate actions to ensure this decision is implemented throughout the state of Missouri.”

Louisiana

As expected, Governor Bobby Jindal will be opposing the issuing of marriage licenses to couples. Officials will be waiting for a directive from the state’s attorney general before proceeding.

“The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states’ rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution,” said Jindal, a renowned opponent of marriage equality and LGBT rights. “Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.

“This decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty.

“The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage to participate in these ceremonies. That would be a clear violation of America’s long held commitment to religious liberty as protected in the First Amendment.

“I will never stop fighting for religious liberty and I hope our leaders in D.C. join me.”

Michigan

“Same-sex marriage has been a divisive issue in Michigan and across our country,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “Recognizing that there are strong feelings on both sides, it is important for everyone to respect the judicial process and the decision today from the U.S. Supreme Court. Our state government will follow the law and our state agencies will make the necessary changes to ensure that we will fully comply.”

Mississippi

Mississippi will delay their implementation of the Supreme Court’s ruling until the stay on marriage licenses has been lifted by a federal court.

“It will become effective in Mississippi, and circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses, when the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge Reeves’ order,” said Attorney General Jim Hood in a statement. “This could come quickly or may take several days. The 5th Circuit might also choose not to lift the stay and instead issue an order, which could take considerably longer before it becomes effective.”

“Throughout history, states have had the authority to regulate marriage within their borders,” stated Governor Phil Bryant “Today, a federal court has usurped that right to self-governance and has mandated that states must comply with federal marriage standards—standards that are out of step with the wishes of many in the United States and that are certainly out of step with the majority of Mississippians.”

South Dakota

Florida

Florida’s attorney general has confirmed that the state will begin issuing marriage licenses.

“We have always sought finality on this important constitutional issue, and today the United States supreme court provided the clarity our state and country was seeking,” she wrote. “Our country has vigorously debated the issue, with good people on all sides. Many on both sides feel strongly about the issue, having deeply and sincere beliefs. Legal efforts were not about personal beliefs or opinions, but rather, the rule of law. The United States supreme court has the final word on interpreting the constitution and the court has spoken.”

Alabama

“We’re ready as soon as anybody comes,” Jefferson County Probate Judge Sherri Friday told AL.com. “We’re ready to go.”

Some counties, including Baldwin County, won’t be issuing licenses until at least Monday, but applications will be accepted today.

Alabama’s governor tweeted that he won’t support the Supreme Court’s decision:

This post will be updated throughout the day.

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