Some local counties issue gay marriage licenses, Lubbock not yet

Some local counties issue gay marriage licenses, Lubbock not yet

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is telling county clerks they don't have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but many, like Hale County's Latrice Kemp, are anyway.

"It's my duty as a county clerk. That's what I took an oath to do," Kemp said. "We're ready to issue marriage licenses to everyone."

Just one county to the south, it's a different story. Lubbock County Clerk Kelly Pinion is asking for patience.

"Our software wasn't able, and isn't able, to accommodate the ruling, and once that gets done, we can treat everyone equally," Pinion said.

Both counties use specific software to produce the marriage certificates and licenses.

"It does say man and woman on there so our vendor is working on changing that," Kemp said.

Pinion says it's a matter of appearances.

"The marriage license would still print out with 'mister' on it, and I don't think anybody really would want an official, special license with a scratch out on it," Pinion said.

Paxton issued his legal opinion Sunday, advising clerks, judges and justices of the peace that they can refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses at their own risk.

"As the chief law enforcement officer, what he's saying is the state of Texas won't pursue you, but it's very clear that the US district court may pursue you," FOX34 Legal Analyst Curtis Parrish said.

Paxton is basing the defense on religious liberty, specifically the Pastor Protection Act, which Governor Abbott signed into law just days ago.

Parrish says that act applies to pastors, ministers, rabbis, priests and churches.

"Whether or not that applies to government officials or not, that's probably going to be up to a US district court judge to figure that out," Parrish said.

Lubbock Representative John Frullo co-sponsored the Pastor Protection Act.

"There are a lot of folks that are extremely happy. I'm not in that camp," Frullo said. "I think that the states should be able to set up, using states' rights and the 10th Amendment, what they want and what their people want."

For now, depending where you live, some same-sex couples have to wait.

"To be able to treat everybody equally, I believe in my opinion we need to wait for the software to be updated," Pinion said.

Others can already tie the knot.

"I feel like I'm performing the duties of my office," Kemp said.

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Here's the status of same-sex marriage licenses in our viewing area:

Bailey County - Waiting for updated forms, will issue then
Borden County - Issuing
Briscoe County - Issuing
Castro County - Waiting for updated forms and further instruction from the state
Cochran County - Waiting for updated forms and further instruction from the state
Cottle County - Waiting for further instruction from the state
Crosby County - Waiting for software update, will issue then
Dawson County - 
Waiting for updated forms and further instruction from the state
Dickens County - Issuing
Floyd County - Issuing
Gaines County - 
Waiting for further instruction from the state
Garza County - 
Waiting for software update, will issue then
Hale County - Issuing
Hall County - Issuing
Hockley County - Not issuing. The clerk is "waiting to be told she has to"
Kent County - 
Waiting for updated forms, will issue then
Lamb County - 
Waiting for further instruction from the state
Lubbock County - 
Waiting for software update, will issue then
Lynn County - Issuing
Motley County - No response to our calls
Parmer County - 
Waiting for updated forms, will "probably" issue then
Scurry County - 
Waiting for software update, will issue then
Swisher County - 
Waiting for updated forms, will issue then
Terry County - 
Waiting for software update, will issue then
Yoakum County - Issuing

Same-sex marriage was legalized in our New Mexico counties in December 2013.

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