Palestine City Manager Uses Executive Order to Legalize Gay Marriage in City; Pay for Weddings with New Fee on Water Bill
PALESTINE, TX—It was a dream come true for Randy Pinson, 22, and his partner James Wellington, 21, as they were married today in the council chambers of Palestine City Hall—which had been converted to a chapel for the ceremony—and it cost them nothing for the right to marry and the ceremony thanks to Palestine city manager Wendy Ellis.
“I have a pen and I used it,” Ellis said referring to her executive order authorizing the gay marriages. “Look, I’m fully aware that there is a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage, but I’ve watched on the news and all of those laws are being tossed out by the courts and I think this will be what finally puts Palestine on the map. Besides, most citizens in this town are already taking it in the rear from city hall, so what do they care?”
Ellis expects a sharp increase in tourism from the new effort. “We’ve always thought that inviting tourists through the front door was the way to go, but some prefer to come in through the backdoor and that’s what we’re doing with this new ordinance, ” Ellis explained. “Water customers will see a new fee appear on their water bill in the coming months that will pay for the licensing of the marriages and for a one hour ceremony in council chambers, officiated by city judge Bill Curley. A remodel of council chambers is planned so it’ll be more inviting for these types of ceremonies. We are currently in the bidding process on that project.”
Ellis said that until the fee appears on water bills, the city will use funds from over charging water meters to pay for the marriages.
The Dogwood Tale contacted Mayor Therrell Thomas who only said that the idea was “nice.”
District 6 Councilman Steve Presley, an avid supporter of the Texas State Railroad, says that there are already plans for a new gay excursion ride in the coming months.
Applications for gay marriage licenses are increasing by the day, according to a city employee.