Same-Sex Wedding Ceremonies Begin in Travis County
Rev. Richard Bates, a retired Methodist minister, began performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples today on the fifth floor of the Travis County Courthouse, including Ted Burton and Darin Upchurch.
First, they had to get their marriage license at the Travis County Clerk's Office. They wore tan linen jackets and brightly colored checkered shirts to the clerk's office. It was an emotional moment.
"We’ve waited a very long time for this. It’s been 15 years," says Burton with tears in his eyes. "We feel like we’ve been married for 15 years. It just feels good that…I can’t." Burton chokes up.
"It’s the same as marriage, but it’s finally legitimized and that’s a great feeling," says Upchurch.
Many couples today filed for marriage licenses — as of early afternoon, the Travis County Clerk had issued more than 80, compared to 17 all of yesterday. There is normally a 72-hour waiting, or "cooling off" period between the license being issued and the marriage, but many couples sought out judges, who have the authority to waive the waiting period.
"I don't think we have to cool off after 15 years," Burton says, laughing. At the courthouse, Judge Gisela Triana performed a brief ceremony. Then, Bates offered the couple a blessing.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that state bans on same-sex marriage violate the Constitution, effectively making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.
Celebrations will be held this afternoon and tonight all over Austin, including a big Texas for Marriage event beginning tonight at 6 p.m. at Central Presbyterian Church at 200 E. 6th St.
Faith Presbyterian Church at 1314 E. Oltorf, says they are marrying same-gender couples today. According to their facebook post, there will be "no strings. No waiting period. No hoops."
After the blessing, Burton and Upchurch left to celebrate with friends.
"We may have a margarita," Burton said.
"I mean, maybe, I'm not sure," Upchurch chimed in sarcastically.