When County Clerk Juli Luke had a Denton County marriage denied for a gay couple on Friday, many in the LGBT community were outraged, since this action seemed to defy the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision released earlier in the week. But Luke seems to be indicating that Monday should be different for same-sex marriage in Denton County.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, reports claim Luke denied the marriage applications of two gay couples because she needed to receive legal guidance from the district attorney’s office in Texas 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.
After initially having the Denton County marriage denied outright, the next step was to place a sign which blamed the situation on computer problems.
“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.”
Casey Cavalier and Tod King have been waiting for years to have their marriage become official in Texas, and they were surprised the local county office was unprepared for the ruling by SCOTUS.
“I find it hard to believe that they’re not ready,” Cavalier said. “There could have been a contingency plan. I should have brought white-out with me to change their form. I thought there would be some feet dragging, but the wording was pretty strong on the SCOTUS decision. We were going to wait until Monday, but because the wording was so strong, we thought they would perhaps be ready.”
Juli Luke is not the first official to deny a Denton County gay marriage in the past. Denton County Judge Mary Horn said Friday that she would refuse to marry any same-sex couple who came to her.
“I believe it’s within my rights to say no,” Horn said, adding that she has refused to perform gay weddings in the past.
Dianne Edmondson, Denton County Republican Party chairwoman, also believes it is within their rights to have a Denton County marriage denied since she believes the Supreme Court overrode Texas’ states rights with the landmark decision.
“I agree with Justice [Antonin] Scalia who wrote his own dissent, in addition to Chief Justice [John] Roberts’ version, when he called attention to this court’s threat to American democracy,” Edmondson said, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle. “He warns that the Court goes beyond its role as a neutral arbiter and that we have lost the right to govern ourselves. After all, only 11 states actually voted by the people or their elected officials to allow gay marriages and the other two dozen have had gay marriage forced upon them by judicial fiat.”
But County Clerk Juli Luke has announced that she does intend on issuing gay marriage licenses, and she anticipates her office should be capable of doing so by Monday.
“We need to address the applications themselves and make sure those are in compliance with the Family Code,” Luke said. “We will have to adjust the software system itself. I’m going to follow the law as I swore to do.”
[Image via Texas Tribune]