Bill Would Move Marriage License Distribution to Secretary of State

Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, then a state representative, at a committee hearing on May 12, 2014.
Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, then a state representative, at a committee hearing on May 12, 2014.

One day after an Austin lesbian couple obtained a marriage license from the Travis County clerk, a Texas lawmaker says he wants to move the distribution of marriage licenses to the Texas secretary of state’s office.

State Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, filed legislation Friday afternoon that would make the Texas secretary of state’s office the sole distributor of marriage licenses. Couples looking to marry currently obtain marriage licenses from individual county clerk’s offices.

Perry said his bill is intended to keep county clerks from issuing marriage licenses “that do not conform to state law.” Despite the state’s constitutional ban on marriage between same-sex couples, a state district judge on Thursday ordered the Travis County clerk to issue a marriage license to Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, who have been together for 30 years. The marriage was hailed as the first between a same-sex couple in Texas. The state quickly asked the Texas Supreme Court to void the marriage license.

“Yesterday, Travis County officials acted in direct conflict with the Texas Constitution,” Perry said in a statement. “[Senate Bill] 673 ensures rule of law is maintained and the Texas Constitution is protected.”

State Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, has filed a companion bill in the House.

 

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