HOW VINCE RYAN HELPED PUSH HARRIS COUNTY TO START ISSUING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LICENSES

By Dianna Wray
The Houston Press

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal last Friday morning, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan was determined that Harris County would start following the law of the land by issuing licenses to gay couples as soon as possible, whether the county clerk was ready or not.

Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart had already said that he wasn't going to start following the Supreme Court's ruling until he got the proper forms – which needed the removal of exactly two words, “male” and “female,” to be accurate – from the state. While Stanart's office repeatedly stated on Friday that they were just trying to follow the letter of the law, the move looked like political foot dragging as couples arriving to apply for their licenses were turned away.

But Ryan's office was ready with an opinion from the county attorney to get things rolling as soon as the Supreme Court's decision was announced. He sent a letterto Stanart just after 9 a.m. once he'd read Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion on the case. Reading the decision over, it was impossible to misinterpret what the Supreme Court had intended, Ryan says. “The opinion by Justice Kennedy was so clear and direct it made our opinion, which was already done, easy to send out.”

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