Denton County Marriage Denied: Gay Couples Express Outrage

Gay marriage is being denied in Denton County despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court officially legalized marriage equality in all 50 states. As reported by the New York Times yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in a 5-4 decision. Within a few hours, gay couples across the country had been issued marriage certificates.

The ruling said that the U.S. Constitution guarantees that gays and lesbians have the right to marry and have the same benefits as heterosexual married couples. Although the new federal law was enacted, some conservative states still refuse to grant marriage certificates to gay couples. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced that his administration will not recognize same-sex marriage at this time. However, a spokesperson released a statement saying that his office plans to honor the high court’s decision.

“Our agencies will have no choice but to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision when the 5th Circuit Court orders the ruling into effect – even though we disagree with it and believe it was wrongly decided, and has nothing to do with the Constitution.”

While states such as Louisiana now oppose new laws, however, they are aware that eventually they will have to comply with the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, in Texas, Denton County Clerk Juli Luke denied marriage licenses for two gay couples. According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, Luke denied their applications because she needed to receive legal guidance from the district attorney’s office before she could issue their marriage licenses. She said she didn’t quite understand exactly what to do when gay couples apply for marriage licenses.

“It appears this decision now places our great state in a position where state law contradicts federal law,” Luke said in a statement.

A report from WFAA says that the Denton County Clerk is now blaming the issue on a problem with the computer systems. Luke’s office posted a sign explaining the situation.

“Due to issues with the office’s computer programs that kept it from changing the language written on the paperwork for marriage, the clerk would not issue any same sex licenses.”

Although the Denton County Clerk posted the sign in an attempt to explain the matter, some aren’t buying it, and a few members of the LGBTQ community feel the timing of the computer system issues was suspicious.

Sandy Swan, a member of the local Stonewall Democratic club, said she doubts any same-sex couples would apply for marriage licenses at Denton County Clerk’s office.

“She’s been pretty vague about it,” Swan said.

However, not all news is bad news from Texas. Jack Evans and George Harris were the first same-sex couple to wed in Dallas County, Texas. Evans, 85, and Harris, 82, received a certificate of marriage on the morning of the ruling.

[Image courtesy of Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images News]