As we discussed in our last post, the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges guarantees same-sex couples the freedom to marry in all states in the United States. This means that same-sex couples in Texas can apply for and receive a marriage license in any county in the state.
While some opponents to same-sex marriage, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, have stated that county clerks can refuse to issue marriage licenses to couples based on the clerk’s personal religious views, doing so would be in direct violation of the Supreme Court’s ruling. Any state employee who refuses to uphold the law and issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple will open his or herself up to possible fines and legal actions.
How to Get a Marriage License in Texas – The Basics
You have a right to get a marriage license and be married in Texas. Marriage equality is protected by the 14th amendment to the constitution and this right was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court.
- In Austin, marriage licenses are issued by the Travis County Clerk at 5501 Airport Boulevard.
- There is a 72 hour waiting period between when the license is issued and when a marriage ceremony can be performed, although this waiting period can be waived in some circumstances.
- When applying for a marriage license, the couple must bring with them proof of identity and age, and the social security number of each applicant (if he or she has one). It is not necessary, however, to bring the actual social security card.
- The current fee for a marriage license is $81.
- If you have any questions about the process, or what you need to bring with you, you can contact the clerk’s office at (512) 854-9188.
Once the marriage license is obtained and the waiting period has been satisfied, you are free to have a marriage ceremony performed by an authorized individual. While marriage equality is a basic right, members of some faiths will still refuse to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Clergy members are not required to perform marriage ceremonies to all couples; however, a justice of the peace or similar government official should uphold the law and provide a marriage ceremony. A list of judges who perform marriage ceremonies in Travis County can be found here.
After the ceremony, the authorized individual must sign and date the certificate and indicate the county where the ceremony was performed. The signed license must then be returned to the County Clerk’s office within 30 days. Once the Clerk receives the license, a copy will be filed and the original will be returned to you.
Marriage in the United States is a protected right and is guaranteed by the constitution. Same-sex couples in Texas have the right to be issued a marriage license, married in the state, and have that marriage fully recognized.
If you are facing discrimination or having difficulty obtaining a marriage license, contact Alexander Law Firm. We will listen to you, discuss your options, and help advocate for your rights.