BEAUMONT - Courtship in Judge Baylor Wortham’s courtroom has taken up some of his time this year.
Since January 1, Judge Wortham says he has married over 170 Southeast Texas couples.
"Some Fridays we'll come in and have eight weddings in one day," Judge Wortham said.
Monica and Rafael Diaz tied the knot after four years of being together on Thursday.
"I was the one holding back, I didn't want to get married yet but suddenly I said, ‘okay let's do it,’" Diaz said.
Wortham read some of the scripts in Spanish for the newlyweds.
Judge Wortham’s gift to couples is a free wedding. He has not charged for any wedding he’s officiated.
"I never wanted a $50 fee or charge to ever be an impediment to someone who wanted to get married and say their vows," Wortham said.
A wall in Wortham’s chambers is filled with pictures of each couple married in the 136th district court.
“We have another 25 pictures in the process of being printed off, we just don't know where we're going to put them yet," Wortham said.
Some marriages performed were same-sex weddings, according to Judge Wortham. Wortham says he feels honored to be part of a special occasion.
"To see the people's tears run down their face when we get to declare them husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs., it's such a deep personal meaning to each of those people," Wortham said.
Wortham plans on putting this year’s wedding pictures in a photo album and entering the album into court record.
Wortham is one out of three Jefferson County Judges that officiate weddings. Justices of the Peace Ransom “Duce” Jones and Marc DeRouen are the other two officials.
Any couples interested in planning their wedding with Judge Wortham can contact his office at (409) 835-8481.
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