Dallas County Clerk John Warren says he won’t issue any same-sex marriage licenses tomorrow

Posted on 13 Feb 2012 at 3:48pm

Dallas County Clerk John Warren, right, greeted Blake Wilkinson of Queer LiberAction when same-sex couples requested marriage licenses in 2009. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

In Friday’s Voice we mentioned that same-sex couples will be requesting marriage licenses at the Dallas County Clerk’s Office on Tuesday in a Valentine’s Day demonstration organized by GetEQUAL TX and other groups. But don’t expect County Clerk John Warren to issue the licenses. Warren told Instant Tea today that issuing one to a same-sex couple would likely result in a petition to have him removed from the office he’s held since 2006.

“When I took my oath, I raised my hand to uphold the law,” Warren said. “Regardless of what John Warren’s feelings are, that’s what I have to do, because that’s what my position requires.

“If the law changes that I can issue same-sex marriage licenses, I will issue same-sex marriage licenses,” Warren added. “More than any other cause, my main cause is my 13-year-old son and providing for him and my wife — and my dog.”

Asked about his personal position on the issue, Warren said his religious beliefs dictate that he opposes same-sex marriage. Warren is a deacon in his Baptist church, which he said teaches what the Bible teaches, which is “to love everybody.”

“I don’t see an issue with civil unions,” Warren said, adding that he also strongly supported the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Warren is close friends with fellow Democrat and openly gay District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons. The pair has worked closely on a digital courts initiative among other projects, and they refer to themselves as “running mates” during election season.

“I love Gary like a brother,” Warren said.

Asked whether he would support Fitzsimmons’ right to get married, Warren said he was unaware that Fitzsimmons has any desire to do so but would be open to discussing the issue with him. Warren added that he may or may not greet the protesters on Tuesday — as he has in previous years — because Commissioners Court will be in session.

Read GetEQUAL TX’s full press release about Tuesday’s demonstration — which begins at 10 a.m. and is one of many across the state and nation — after the jump.

When: Tuesday, February 14th from 10 AM to 11 AM

Where: Dallas County Records Building
           509 Main Street, Dallas, TX 75202

SAME-SEX COUPLES TO REQUEST MARRIAGE LICENSES ON VALENTINE’S DAY

Dallas, TX – This Valentine’s Day, Tuesday February 14 2012, GetEQUAL TX, in coordination with Freedom to Marry and Marriage Equality USA, will hold a demonstration to bring attention to the injustice that is served by the constitutional ban on marriage in Texas.

“We are going to claim what is already promised to us by the US Constitution”, Said Daniel Cates, North Texas Lead Organizer for GetEQUAL, “We will be back time and again until the law reflects what we already know to be true, that each of us are equal from the moment of birth.”

The ban itself was added to our state Constitution in 2005 however, rather than banning same-sex marriage, it banned all marriages. The Amendment reads:

Article 1, Sec. 32.  MARRIAGE.  
(a)  Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b)  This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.  
(Added Nov. 8, 2005.)

Part (a) defines marriage as “the union of one man and one woman”. Part (b) bans “any legal status identical or similar to” the union of one man and one woman.

“Even though there is a strict ban on marriage itself, County Clerks have been waving that ban for opposite-sex couples since the day it was signed into law”, said Michael Diviesti, Texas State Lead Organizer for GetEQUAL, “We are calling on all issuers of marriage licenses to either comply with the law, and stop giving out marriage licenses or to break the law equally for everyone.”

This will be the second consecutive year, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community and their allies in Dallas will be applying for same-sex marriage licenses at the Travis Country Clerk’s office demonstrating that all Texas families have the right to safety and security under the law.

Following the recent ruling of California Proposition 8′s unconstitutionality, a clear message has been sent to the nation that discriminatory laws serve no purpose but to lessen the dignity of all human beings.

Participants attending the event are encouraged to wear wedding attire (such as veils, top hats, bouquets, etc) and bring signs celebrating the theme of love.

Facebook Event Page: http://www.facebook.com/events/156062671176159

In addition, follow the national movement for marriage equality at

Marriage Equality USA: www.marriageequality.org

Freedom to Marry: www.freedomtomarry.org

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