One Texas county clerk appears to have conveniently delayed issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until she could retire.
Live Oak County Clerk Karen Irving (right) is retiring effective today, and she said her departure is due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.
The Texas Observer reports:
“Due to the latest Supreme Court decision which is contrary to my personal beliefs, I cannot uphold the oath which I made when I took office,” Irving wrote in an email to other county clerks across the state on Monday.
Nineteen days after the high court’s ruling, Live Oak County—situated between San Antonio and Corpus Christi and home to 12,000 people—hasn’t issued any marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Irving, whose last day is today, told the Observer her office has been waiting on technical updates but should be prepared to serve same-sex couples later this week.
“We’ll be up and ready to go tomorrow afternoon and for sure on Friday, unless there’s a glitch with the vendor, but I don’t think there will be,” she said.
What a coincidence! The day after Irving retires, the county will finally be prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. It certainly makes you wonder whether there were really “technical” issues, or she was just stalling until she could give her two-weeks notice.
In any case, Irving isn’t further discussing her decision. A 23-year employee of the clerk’s office, she said “it’s been a long journey” and she’s “excited” about retirement. When I asked why she didn’t retire after 20 years, when she was first eligible for a pension, she said she was waiting until she was closer to receiving Social Security benefits.
Irving is the second Texas county clerk to step down to avoid issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Last week, Rusk County Clerk Joyce Lewis-Kugle announced her resignation.
Equality Texas spokesman Daniel Williams told the Observer he respects the decisions of Irving and Lewis-Kugle:
“I think they should be applauded for doing exactly what we want our government officials to do, which is to put the public before their own interests,” Williams said. “That is a triumph of democracy.”
In other words, good riddance.