Forget the Lone Star State—as of Thursday, Texas is the lone-marriage state, with a single, legally wed gay couple.
It's a strange turn of events, and it's unclear whether the marriage between Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, who have been together for 31 years, will be upheld.
On Tuesday, a probate judge in Travis County—home to Austin, the state's liberal-leaning capital, ruled that Texas's gay-marriage ban was unconstitutional. The case at hand involved a woman whose partner died last year; the plaintiff Sonemaly Phrasavath wanted their relationship ruled a common-law marriage for estate purposes, and she won. (A federal judge previously made a similar ruling; that decision is stayed and under appeal.)
Goodfriend and Bryant then sued the county clerk and petitioned a state district judge in Austin for an emergency license, citing Goodfriend's ovarian cancer. The judge, David Wahlberg, ruled in their favor, ordering Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to waive a 72-hour waiting period and issue a license. The couple were promptly married outside the county clerk's office—moving quickly to preempt any legal intervention—with their teenage daughters watching.
“It’s a very, very important day for our family. And it’s a very important day for everyone who believes in justice and equality,” Bryant told the American-Statesman. DeBeauvoir, who supports marriage equality, said that although she had issued the license, she would not issue any others unless ordered to do so by judges.