First same-sex couple married in Dallas after historic Supreme Court ruling
The first gay couple married in Dallas County jokingly asked for a senior discount.
Jack Evans and George Harris said they deserve it. They've been waiting to get married in Texas for nearly 55 years.
The two men were finally able to tie the knot Friday morning thanks to the Supreme Court's landmark decision which legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
"A lot of our friends went out of state or Canada to get married, but we being Texans we wanted to hold out for Texas," Harris said. "I said, well, I hope we live long enough."
Dozens of other couples waited in line for marriage licenses at the Dallas County records building.
Judges in the county waived the required 72-hour waiting period between when licenses are issued and ceremonies can be held.
"Ten years ago, this was not even imaginable. Had little hope it would ever come to Texas, still shocked that Texas is allowing it today," Evans said.
Evans, who walks with a cane, had a rainbow gay pride flag tucked in his lapel, and Harris carried red roses as they left the ceremony.
The two met 54 years ago at a party hosted by a mutual friend and had kept their relationship secret for the first 20 years. Eventually, they came out and last year celebrated their relationship with a ceremony at a Dallas church.
Kenneth Denson and his partner, Gabriel Mendez, waited in line wearing matching t-shirts from their business, Red Pegasus Games & Comics. They closed the shop Friday morning so they could wed.
Kristy Johnson and Ingrid Snelling believe the constitution is finally being upheld.
"Ingrid and I have journeyed together through thick and thin for 22 years... everything. And I never thought I would see this day," Johnson said tearfully.
Officials said more than 150 same sex marriage licenses were issued in Dallas County on Friday.
Late in the day, more than 1,000 people took to the streets in Oak Lawn to celebrate the court's ruling.
Marriage ceremonies were performed Friday night at the Cathedral of Hope, one of the largest LGBT churches in the nation.
Similar lines formed in other major Texas cities including Austin and San Antonio. Many offices are planning to remain open longer to accommodate the larger numbers in the afternoon.
In Denton County, multiple signs were posted on the courthouse door. One mentioned a conflict between state and federal law and another said marriage licenses were not being issued because of a clerical issue.
Officials in Houston initially said they would wait for guidance from the Texas attorney general, but later decided to proceed with issuing licenses.
AG Ken Paxton late Thursday asked county clerks and justices of the peace not to issue immediate gay marriage licenses following the high court's decision, but instead to wait for his instructions.
In a statement Friday, Paxton called the ruling, "far from a victory for anyone. This is instead a dilution of marriage as a societal institution."
Gov. Greg Abbott has remained an emphatic opponent of gay marriage, even as signs in recent months pointed to the Supreme Court striking down state bans.
Abbott said the court acted as "an unelected nine-member legislature" and that five justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage "have imposed on the entire county their personal views."
He issued a directive to all state agencies demanding they preserve Texas' religious liberties.
Abbott's office later clarified the order doesn't mean state agencies were allowed to discriminate against gay employees.
In a memo Friday, the Republican said the government shouldn't pressure people to violate their "sincerely held religious beliefs" on marriage. It applies to "any agency decision," including denying benefits to gay couples, enforcing agency contracts, state laws and other matters.
That appeared to indicate that state agencies could deny things like retirement benefits to employees in same-sex couples.
But Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch later said that the directive doesn't allow agencies to discriminate, which would have violated federal and state law.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.