( Washington, DC ) This is a developing story. Today, Jason White and his fiancée Jonathan Means are planning to obtain a marriage license from the San Saba County Clerk in Texas. However, the clerk, Kim Wells has indicated that she will deny their application for a marriage license presumably based on Attorney General Ken Paxton's nonbinding opinion that clerks may claim religious exemptions in performing marriages for same-sex couples. The Texas Department of Vital Statistics has updated the forms necessary to issue marriage licenses to same-sex partners and therefore there is no justifiable basis for the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Jason is a ten year, six combat tour, Marine. He was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and two additional medals in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan and Iraq. Jason and Jonathan were engaged yesterday, June 29, 2015 and our planning to go to the clerk's office at 2pm today to obtain a marriage license. Jason is also the owner of the Brass House a restaurant and bar in Austin, Texas. The Brass House Austin was conceived by Jason while operating in a combat zone with the United States Marine Corps. He dreamed of moving to Austin and opening a live music venue at the completion of his service with the hope of providing a relaxed and enjoyable environment for those who enjoy the sounds of jazz and blues.
In a letter to Kim Wells, Matt Thorn Interim Executive Director for OutServe-SLDN stated "Under the United States Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges, in which all 50 U.S. states are now required to issue and recognize marriages to same-sex couples, this denial will be in direct violation of the United States Constitution and specifically the 14th amendment."
Thorn added "We strongly request that you follow the ruling of the Supreme Court and issue Jason and Jonathan their marriage license. Furthermore, we will assist Jason and Jonathan in all recourse with San Saba County should there be a continual denial of their license….Jason has given this country his service, risked his life and took an oath to uphold our fundamental beliefs as a nation. He and his fiancée deserve the respect and dignity of being able to publicly pronounce their love to one another through marriage and should not be discriminated against because you are choosing to ignore the oath in which you took and the law."
The full letter from OutServe-SLDN to the San Saba County Clerk can be read here.
OutServe-SLDN will continue to provide updates as they become available.
OutServe-SLDN ( OS-SLDN ) is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. With more than fifty chapters and 60,000 subscribers around the world, OS-SLDN supports a professional network of LGBT military personnel and strives to create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visit www.outserve-sldn.org .