Lesbian couple denied marriage license in Dallas; 3 arrested at clerk’s office in Austin

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012   Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter

GetEQUAL’s Daniel Cates, left, speaks to County Clerk John Warren, right, as lesbian couple Hendrix Scott and Jennifer McClusky look on. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Hendrix Scott and Jennifer McClusky applied for a marriage license at the Dallas County Clerk’s office today. More than a dozen people came to witness the couple applying for their license, including nine members of Occupy Dallas.

“I have to inform you that in the state of Texas same-sex marriage is not legal, so we will not be issuing your license today,” an employee in the clerk’s office told the couple.

The couple asked to speak to her superior, and County Clerk John Warren showed up.

GetEQUAL North Texas regional coordinator Daniel Cates told Warren: “We’re asking you to break the law equally. Uphold the letter of the law and stop issuing licenses to everyone.”

Cates claim that Warren isn’t upholding the law comes from the wording of the amendment to the Texas Constitution that reads, “This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

Cates said that the only thing identical to marriage is marriage, which makes all marriage in Texas illegal under the law. Warren disagreed.

“It refers to anyone other than a person born as a man and a person born as a woman,” Warren said of state law.

“We’ll be back monthly until that changes,” Cates said.

Warren spent some time talking to the group and said he personally supports equality. He said not allowing people to put their partners on company insurance policies makes no sense and costs taxpayers money if people end up at Parkland hospital, for example.

When Warren mentioned his religious objection to same-sex marriage, Cates told him: “I can get a religious marriage right now. Lots of churches in Dallas would perform a wedding for me. It’s civil marriage I want.”

Cates, left, gives Paula Blackmon a bundle of cards for the mayor

After leaving the Dallas County Records Building, Cates walked to Dallas City Hall to deliver 400 Valentines to Mayor Mike Rawlings. The Valentines were collected by GetEQUAL and Resource Center Dallas to encourage the mayor to sign a pledge in support of same-sex marriage.

Rawlings’ chief of staff, Paula Blackmon, greeted Cates at City Hall and promised to deliver the cards to the mayor.

Elsewhere

In Austin, three people were arrested at the Travis County Courthouse according to GetEQUAL state lead Michael Diviesti. Tiffany Bishop and her partner Iana DiBona and witness Brittney Tovar were arrested after the couple was denied a license. The three refused to leave the clerk’s office. Other couples left to perform a wedding ceremony outside the building.

Several couples planned to go to the Tarrant County Courthouse this afternoon to apply for their marriage licenses.

For more coverage of marriage equality demonstrations around the state, go here.

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