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

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.

—  John Wright

Freedom to Marry Day — Part II

Blake Wilkinson of Queer LiberAction and Dallas County Clerk John Warren square off inside the marriage license office last year.
Blake Wilkinson of Queer LiberAction, left, and Dallas County Clerk John Warren square off inside the marriage license office last year.

Last week same-sex couple Kay Mathews and Wendy Churitch renewed their vows in front of the Dallas County Records Building in a demonstration to mark Freedom To Marry Day. But the Records Building was closed because of the weather, so they were unable to go inside and request a marriage license from the County Clerk’s Office. Which brings us to tomorrow, when Mathews and Churitch, along with activists from Queer LiberAction and Equality March Texas, will take care of unfinished business. The group will gather in front of the Records Building at 9 a.m. before marching inside. This portion of the demonstration resulted in a heated exchange last year between QL founder Blake Wilkinson and County Clerk John Warren (shown above). And especially given some of the other Freedom to Marry demonstrations around the country last week (like this one and this one, for example), it’ll be interesting to see how Part II plays out.

—  John Wright