July 8, 2022
Yes! Marriage is 100% legal, recognized, and welcomed in Texas for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ+) couples. All marriage laws, as well as divorce laws, apply to all individuals in Texas regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
When did same-sex marriage become legal in the U.S.?
Gay marriage became legal in Texas, and in all 50 states on June 26, 2015, when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) made its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.
The process for gay marriage in Texas is exactly the same for gay and LGBT couples as it is for opposite-sex couples. With marriage equality in all 50 states, there is no separate “gay marriage law”. Same-sex marriage is legal in Texas and everywhere in the United States. Getting married in Texas involves:
A marriage license issued in Texas expires if a ceremony is not conducted before the 90th day after the date the license is issued (Texas Family Code § 2.201).
Having a friend or family member officiate a marriage can be meaningful and special and many couples getting married ask how to get a license to perform marriages in Texas. Although some states have procedures for one-time officiants such as a “Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day”, Texas does not have a simple procedure available. In Texas, only certain persons are legally authorized to conduct wedding ceremonies. Officiants must qualify as an officer of a religious organization that is authorized by the organization to conduct a marriage ceremony.
Becoming ordained can be accomplished fairly easily through various internet marriage ministries. Officiants must be 18 years old. Their primary responsibility is to complete the marriage license, confirm its validity, and return it to the county clerk that issued it within 10 days.
There is no limit in Texas to how many times you can get married, but you can only be married to one person at a time. You must be divorced before you can get married again.
Marriage licenses are issued by the county in Texas, and costs vary by county. Costs can be reduced by participating in Texas’s healthy marriage program - “Twogether in Texas”. Couples who complete a pre-marital education (available to all couples) are eligible to have up to $60 off their marriage license fee reduced, and the 72-hour hour waiting period may be waived. For example, in Dallas County, a marriage license is $81. If couples complete premarital education, the cost is just $21. Dallas County also offers an informal marriage license for $41 (informal marriage certificates are not available in every state).
If both applicants are absent, they must submit an affidavit declaring that the applicants are a “member of the armed forces of the United States stationed in another country in support of combat or another military operation”.
Despite marriage being legal in all 50 states, challenges for LGBT couples may exist. Unfortunately, discrimination still exists, violence is still a problem, and attacks against transgender individuals remain.
Although you need to be a resident to file for a divorce in any county in Texas, there is no residency requirement to obtain a marriage license or get married. As long as you have obtained a marriage license, you can legally get married in Texas
Texas recognizes marriages conducted in any state or foreign country. It is not necessary to remarry in Texas if you were married outside of Texas. Gay marriage in Texas is legal no matter where you were married.
No, you are not required to change your name if you get married in Texas. You are free to keep your name or take your spouse’s name when you are married. Or you and your spouse can each change your name to a combined name.
You can get married if either or both of you were previously married, as long as you aren’t still married. The only issue with a previous marriage is an immediate remarriage. Your divorce must be final 30 days before the marriage license application unless you are remarrying the person you just divorced.
Some people prefer not to get married for some reasons, from witnessing a difficult marriage as a child, or previous experiences of their own. Others prefer not to make the commitment. Some alternatives to traditional LGBT marriage are available with various benefits:
Prior to Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, which made gay marriage legal in Texas and all 50 states, domestic partnership in Texas was widely used as an alternative to gay marriage in Texas. Although marriage is now available to all, many counties in Texas still offer and recognize domestic partnerships instead of marriage.
The new type of pre-nup is the “no-nup” - a cohabitation agreement With changing attitudes towards marriage, some couples wish to live together in an intimate relationship and want the protections of a prenuptial agreement but specifically do not wish to get married. A “no-nup” agreement is a legal document that can set expectations for an arrangement and protect bank accounts, material goods, and other assets. Cohabitation agreements cannot cover child custody or support.
If you have questions about your options to protect your rights before, during, or after same-sex marriage in Texas, contact a family lawyer at Family Law of North Texas. We handle prenuptial agreements, divorce proceedings, adoption, custody arrangements, and other family law matters for same-sex and LGBT couples. Contact us to get a consultation from a professional on our team.
It does not provide legal advice. The scenarios described in this website are intended to demonstrate legal principles involved with representation in the type of case described. Any current or former clients quoted or specifically identified in these materials have reviewed the firm on a third-party website or platform, such as Google, without compensation. Every legal case is different. Specific past results are not indicative of specific future results. Any information contained herein pertaining to experience or familiarity with particular courts or government agencies should not be construed as an ability or willingness to exert improper influence over the legal system. All services described in these materials and provided by Family Law of North Texas, LLC, and its attorneys, are only performed in compliance with all applicable laws and the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct.