Just hours after Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend became the first legally married same-sex couple in Texas yesterday, the state's Republican attorney general declared their marriage "void."
And now Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked the Texas Supreme Court to follow suit and invalidate the women's marriage, reports Austin TV station KVUE.
"The rogue actions of Travis County judges do not withstand the scrutiny of law," Paxton said in a statement. "The same-sex marriage license issued yesterday is not valid because it conflicts with the Texas Constitution and State law — the license is therefore void ab initio. The filing we made today with the Texas Supreme Court confirms these points."
After a state-level judge in Travis County, which includes the state capital of Austin, found Texas's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Wednesday, Bryant and Goodfriend asked another local judge to consider their emergency request for a marriage license to be issued to the mothers of two, citing Goodfriend's ongoing battle with ovarian cancer.
Thursday morning, state District Judge David Wahlberg granted the couple's request, and they were married immediately outside the Travis County courthouse. Wahlberg's ruling directly ordered Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to issue a marriage license to Goodfriend and Bryant only, not to other same-sex couples.
Later Thursday, the Texas Supreme Court granted the attorney general's request to put Wahlberg's ruling on hold, which Paxton argues makes the same-sex marriage invalid, according to the Austin-American Statesman. Because the court's order also blocked any additional same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses, Paxton's brief contends that Texas's ban on same-sex marriage is still in effect, therefore voiding "any same-sex marriage in Texas, no matter when or where it was entered into."
But in Friday's request, Paxton asks the court to explicitly declare Goodfriend and Bryant's marriage invalid, notes the Statesman. Additionally, Paxton's Friday filing also asked the Supreme Court to declare that lower courts cannot rule on the constitutionality of Texas's marriage ban while the issue is being considered by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and or until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on marriage cases from four states later this year. After a federal judge found Texas's marriage ban unconstitutional in February 2014, the state appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit, which heard arguments last month. The three-judge panel hearing that case could issue a ruling at any point.