UPDATED: Dallas County Clerk Changes Course, Says He’ll Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Dallas County Clerk John Warren
Dallas County Clerk John Warren

The Dallas County clerk now says he’ll issue licenses to gay and lesbian couples if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage later this month.

Previously, Democratic Clerk John Warren told the Observer he was concerned about modifying marriage license application forms, which are generated by the state and say “male” and “female.” Warren wrote in an email Wednesday that he contacted the Texas Department of State Health Services about the forms last week, but had not heard back, so he came up with an alternative strategy in consultation with the Dallas County DA’s office.

“When the Supreme Court issues its opinion, I will immediately meet with counsel to make sure we understand the opinion,” Warren said. “Since I feel that it will [be] in the positive, I will be ready to issue license[s]. I’ve already sent a briefing over to our commissioner’s court regarding overtime pay for my staff as well as addressed the need to have security not lock the building at its normal 5:00/5:30 scheduled time.”

Warren, who came out in support of same-sex marriage in 2013, added that he’s asked a manager to survey staff on their ability to work extended hours.

“I hope to offer overtime instead of comp time in hopes of getting as many willing participants as possible,” Warren said.

Warren joins Bexar County Clerk Gerard C. “Gerry” Rickhoff and Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir in saying they’ll issue licenses to same-sex couples without waiting for the state to modify the application forms.

Earlier this week, Republican Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart told The Houston Press he would wait for guidance from Attorney General Ken Paxton before issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Stanart also said if the high court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, justices will be “destroying an institution.”

John Wright is a freelance journalist based in Austin. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Published at 12:18 pm CST