Bexar County Clerk ready to issue licenses if stay lifted on Texas marriage ban

Bexar County Clerk Gerard C. "Gerry" Rickhoff (inset photo) says if the stay on the state's same-sex marriage ban is lifted, he is ready to issue licenses to couples, adding that he'll set up tables in Main Plaza if demand warrants.

The Texas Observer is reporting that Bexar County Clerk Gerard C. “Gerry” Rickhoff is ready to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples if U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia lifts the stay of his February decision that found the Texas equal marriage ban unconstitutional.

On November 24, attorneys with Akin Gump, the law firm representing plaintiffs Vic Holmes, Mark Pharris, Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman, filed a motion with the federal district court to lift the stay.

“The judge could decide something very soon,” Neel Lane of Akin Gump told Towleroad.com. “I think there’s a good chance he’ll lift the stay.”

Rickhoff told the Texas Observer that

. . . he’s prepared to keep his office open 24 hours a day to accommodate same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses, including those from surrounding counties where clerks may decline to issue them.

 

. . . in addition to keeping his office open ’round-the-clock, he’s considering setting up tables in Main Plaza to accommodate same-sex couples. Rickhoff said he’s also lined up district judges to waive a 72-hour waiting period before ceremonies can occur, as well as officiants to conduct them.

 

“There’s a pent-up demand to stop these civil rights violations that are pretty evident,” Rickhoff said. “I would imagine they’ll be driving into San Antonio in droves, and that’s what we’re prepared for. Nobody will be turned away. We’ll work until there’s nobody left.”

The plaintiffs filed their original federal lawsuit challenging the state’s marriage ban on October 28, 2013 in San Antonio. On November 22 of that year, the they sought a preliminary injunction to bar Texas from enforcing the ban. Their case went to court on February 11 of this year.

Two weeks after the hearing, Judge Garcia declared Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. He issued a stay which has been in effect while the state prepares its appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, where it will be heard in January.

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