Same-sex marriage licenses issued in Van Zandt County

Despite some set-up delays with software, The Van Zandt County Clerk’s office began issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples July 1.

As of July 14, the office had issued two licenses.

Local justices of the peace have taken varying stances on performing same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Pct. 3 JP Herbert Dunn said he has no problem performing the ceremonies and officiated at the counties first same-sex union July 8.

Pct. 2 Judge Ronnie Daniell has stopped doing weddings altogether in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.

A sign on Daniell’s office door makes his position clear to those seeking wedded bliss. “Based on my Christian convictions,” the sign reads, “I, Judge Ronnie Daniell, will no longer perform weddings as justice of the peace Van Zandt County precinct #2. I must stand for my Lord, His holy word and my firm belief that is it truth.”

Scott Shinn, Pct. 4 justice, said although he feels strongly about the issue, he is scheduled for training at the end of the month and would refrain from public comment until he has more information.

Pct. 1 Judge Pam Harvath said she hasn’t performed weddings as a JP and she will not now. “I am not performing marriages at all,” she said. “I haven’t felt comfortable about marrying couples since I’m not ordained.”

She said although she is not the “judge of a person’s soul, but of the law” she stands “by God’s word” and by her faith regarding same-sex marriages.

“I am not here to say they are going to hell, that’s not me,” Harvath said. “But they are going to have to answer to God for their decisions, not me. I will also have to answer to God for my sins. … God knows everyone’s heart and what’s in their life.” 

County Judge Don Kirkpatrick has not performed marriages since he took office last summer, County Court Coordinator Sandy Hill said. She said she doesn’t anticipate that will change now.

Brad Blakemore and David Kapitan contributed to this report.


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