HARRIS COUNTY ATTORNEY VINCE RYAN ISSUES OPINION TO GUIDE
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY MATTERS
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan today issued a legal opinion stating that any Texas judge or justice of the peace who performs marriages must also perform them for same-sex couples.
In direct contradiction to an attorney general opinion, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan said today that despite religious objections, judges must perform same-sex weddings if they do so for heterosexual couples and that county clerks cannot refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan today thanked Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee for sending to the U.S. Attorney General his opinion on the county clerk’s obligations to follow the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan today issued a legal opinion stating that if a judge or justice of the peace performs marriages, he or she must also perform them for same-sex couples.
“It’s all or nothing,” Ryan said. “Judges and JPs are not required to perform marriages. However, if they perform marriages for anyone, they cannot legally discriminate against same-sex couples by refusing to perform only those marriages. Everyone must be treated the same under the law.”
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.
Today, on the second anniversary of that decision, Justice Kennedy again joined Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan in holding both that states must allow same-sex couples to marry and that they must recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Let’s talk about the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in Plain English.