Stanart: no plan to issue licenses immediately if SCOTUS OKs same-sex marriage
Should the U.S. Supreme court decide to strike down same-sex marriage bans nationwide, a decision that could come as soon as Thursday, county clerks in all but one of Texas' biggest counties are ready to begin issuing marriage licenses to applicants. To initiate the process, couples must fill out a Texas Department of State Health Services form that currently assigns a space for a male applicant and one for a female applicant. Even as Stanart played the waiting game in Harris County, where the state's 2005 constitutional ban on same-sex unions earned 72 percent of the vote, county clerks in Bexar, Dallas, Tarrant and Travis counties were set to grant licenses pending the go-ahead from county attorneys. Tarrant County Clerk Marie Louise Garcia said in a statement that she would look to her district attorney for guidance and there would be "no unnecessary delay" in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. "If the U.S. Supreme Court would announce that there is a constitutionally-based, federally constitutionally-based right for gay couples to marry, that would mean that state officials could not frustrate that right," University of Houston Law School Professor Thomas Oldham said in anticipation of the Court's decision.