Study: 80 percent of Texas counties issuing same-sex marriage licenses

Study: 80 percent of Texas counties issuing same-sex marriage licenses
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Nearly 80 percent of Texas counties are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the personal opposition of the state's attorney general, according to a study released Wednesday.

The study from Texas for Marriage, a group backing same-sex marriage, found that 149 of the 254 counties in the state are offering licenses.

An additional 46 counties are planning to offer licenses soon, but must first make changes to software and the physical marriage certificates.

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Together, they account for 77 percent of the state's counties.

"We are encouraged by the swift implementation of the Supreme Court's ruling by most counties, but we won't stop pushing until every clerk in Texas complies with the law and makes licenses available to loving and committed gay and lesbian couples," said Nick Hudson, state director of Texas for Marriage.

Before last Friday's Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, the Texas Constitution had an amendment limiting marriage to "the union of one man and one woman."

In reaction to the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told county clerks that they have a right to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if they had religious objections.

Paxton vowed to "defend" the religious freedom of state employees.

In one county, a clerk is facing a lawsuit for allegedly denying a same-sex couple a license. Karen Wilkerson filed a suit on June 29 against Smith County clerk Karen Phillips, claiming her rights under the 14th Amendment were denied.

Texas for Marriage lists Smith County as freely issuing licenses.