Gay Marriage in Central Texas

On Friday the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ban on gay marriage.  In broad terms, the decision requires Texas counties to issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples and for Texas to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states:

Held: The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State. Obergefell v. Hodges

Although the decision has resulted in numerous marriage licenses distributed, counties initially responded differently.  For example, almost immediately after the decision was made public, Travis County was issuing marriage licenses and waiving the normal 72-hour waiting period.  On the other hand, adjacent Williamson County chose to await a review of the Supreme Court’s ruling by the county attorney’s office before issuing any marriage licenses. In any event, residents of Williamson County are free to obtain marriage licenses in Travis.

Common Law Marriage
The Obergefell decision struck down Texas’s ban on same-sex marriage. While the initial focus has been on the issuance of marriage licenses, the ruling applies to common law (or informal) marriages as well.  A common law marriage may be established simply by filing a Declaration of Informal Marriage. Such a form can be found on the Bureau of Vital Statistics Website at: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=30552

A common law marriage can also be established if two people:

  1. agree to be married;
  2. live together in Texas as a married couple; and
  3. “Hold Out” or represent to others that they are a married couple