Texas clerk delays same-sex marriage licenses until day after she retires, claims ‘technical’ problems
A Texas county clerk said this week that her office will finally be ready to issue same-sex marriage licenses the day after she retires due to a “technical” problem.
Although it has been 20 days since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans on same-sex marriage, the Texas Observer reported on Wednesday that the 12,000 residents of Live Oak County have only had access to marriage licenses if they applied as a heterosexual couples.
Live Oak County Clerk Karen Irving told the Texas Observer that “technical” issues had prevented her office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“We’ll be up and ready to go tomorrow afternoon and for sure on Friday, unless there’s a glitch with the vendor, but I don’t think there will be,” Irving said.
But Irving said that she would not be there when the first same-sex marriage licenses were issued.
“I’m of age, and I’m retiring,” she said. “It’s been a long journey, and I’m excited.”
In an email to other county clerks earlier this week, she explained that she could not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples for “personal reasons.”
“Due to the latest Supreme Court decision which is contrary to my personal beliefs, I cannot uphold the oath which I made when I took office,” Irving wrote.
It was not immediately clear if Irving’s view on same-sex marriage was related to the delay in serving LGBT couples.
“What a coincidence!” Towleroad’s John Wright noted. “The day after Irving retires, the county will finally be prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. It certainly makes you wonder whether there were really ‘technical’ issues, or she was just stalling until she could give her two-weeks notice.”
Equality Texas spokesperson Daniel Williams told the Texas Observer that Irving’s decision to step down showed that democracy was working.
“I think they should be applauded for doing exactly what we want our government officials to do, which is to put the public before their own interests,” Williams explained. “That is a triumph of democracy.”
According to the paper, only two out of the 254 Texas county clerks are refusing to issue marriage licenses. A “handful” of other counties were reporting delays due to technical issues.