(UPDATED June 26, 2015 at 3:32 pm CT) “Following this morning’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, I will wait for direction from the state before I can proceed with any changes in the Smith County Clerk’s Office,” Smith County Clerk Karen Phillips said during a press conference this afternoon.
“Just as these couples want to have their union legalized, the County Clerk’s Office must ensure the union is legal by following the process disseminated by the Texas Department of State Health Services, Vital Statistics Unit,” Mrs. Phillips said.
After Mrs. Phillips contacted Victor Farinelli, Communications/Field Services Manager for the Vital Statistics Unit in Austin, he told her, “The Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit and the Office of General Counsel will need to review the court’s ruling, in consideration with the Office of the Attorney General. We will notify all County Clerks as soon as we have been provided direction on how to proceed.”
Mrs. Phillips also contacted Mike McNutt, Area Representative for the Texas Department of State Health Service Vital Statistics Unit. He also said the Department of State Health Services would review the court’s ruling in consultation with the Attorney General’s Office to determine what, if any, changes are needed.
A group of people has assembled in the Smith County Commissioners Court meeting room for a 2:30 p.m. press briefing by County Clerk Karen Phillips. She is expected to talk about what the process will be for receiving same-sex marriage licenses in Smith County.
This morning, she issued a statement saying that there would be no same-sex marriage licenses issued until the procedure is approved by the state. However, some of the people who have gathered at the press briefing are expressing disappointment at the fact that they have not been able to receive marriage licenses so far today.
Some members of the crowd asked Phillips when she was done speaking if she would take questions, and she turned away saying only, "It is what it is."
We have a reporter and video crew there, and will post more details as they become available.