State Judge Rules in Favor of the Freedom to Marry in Texas
February 17, 2015
Yesterday, Tuesday, February 17, State Judge Guy Herman ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Texas, striking down the state's ban on marriage between same-sex couples.
This ruling was in a case, Estate of Stella Marie Powell, brought by private lawyer Brian Thompson, who filed a case on behalf of Sonemaly Phrasavath's marriage to her late partner, Stella Powell. The case is seeking respect as Stella’s spouse for the purpose of fulfilling Stella’s will.
Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said that Travis County, where the case was filed, will not be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as of now.
Travis County released the following statement after the decision:
Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir commends Probate Judge Guy Herman for his court order (see attached) today, which is such a great step toward marriage equality. In his order, Judge Herman did not instruct the County Clerk to begin to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. The Travis County Attorney’s office is examining the order as well as the status of the current federal litigation related to marriage equality at the Fifth Circuit and in the Supreme Court. Because of all of these factors, the County Clerk is not issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples at the present time.
Texas for Marriage spoke with Sonemaly last year. She made it clear how the freedom to marry in Texas could have prevented her from experiencing the pain of leading a court case after the love of her life passed away:
If we had simply been able to marry in Texas, I wouldn’t have to file this case. I hate having to do this. I don’t want to create this ill will toward her family.
As of now, it is unclear what this ruling will mean for the county. However, Judge Herman's decision today makes it clear that Texas, along with the rest of the nation, is ready for marriage.
Read Sonemaly and Stella's story here.
Read the full order here.