Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) is fighting furiously to invalidate the Lone Star State’s lone same-sex marriage. On Thursday, State District Judge David Wahlberg issued an order granting a marriage license to Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend in Travis County. Goodfriend has ovarian cancer. Wahlberg granted the license to the Austin couple, citing a probate court ruling on Tuesday that determined the state’s ban on same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional. Judge Wahlberg also noted the “severity and uncertainty” of Goodfriend’s health, when he granted the couple permission to marry.
On Friday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton began a mad scramble to invalidate the couple’s marriage. At Paxton’s request, the state Supreme Court issued a stay on two separate court rulings declaring Texas’ ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. However, Paxton wasn’t content to just prevent the floodgates from opening to allow other gay and lesbian couples to wed. He also took aim at Bryant and Goodfriend’s marriage.
The rogue actions of Travis County judges do not withstand the scrutiny of law. The same-sex marriage license issued yesterday is not valid because it conflicts with the Texas Constitution and state law.
The couple’s attorney was quick to point out Paxton’s mean-spirited efforts to invalidate their marriage. Attorney Brian Thompson commented on Paxton’s actions, stating:
If he’s in the business of suing loving couples who’ve been together 30 years, one of whom has cancer, than I think it’s a sad day for Texas.
To be sure, the actions of Paxton are not only sad, but pathetic. Like George Wallace standing in a schoolhouse door in 1963, the Texas Republican may be proudly resisting progress on behalf of tradition and bigotry. However, like Wallace’s stand against desegregation, Paxton is standing on the wrong side of history. If the Attorney General wants his legacy to be that he tried to invalidate the marriage of a woman with cancer and her lover of 30 years, he is free to choose that path. However, it isn’t a legacy he is likely to be proud of twenty years from now.