State workers who issue same-sex marriage licenses would lose their salaries and benefits under a new bill proposed in the Texas legislature.
The bill, introduced last week by Rep. Cecil Bell (R), provides that state or local government employees “may not recognize, grant, or enforce a same-sex marriage license.”
If a government employee did issue such a license, they “may not continue to receive a salary, pension, or other employee benefit at the expense of the taxpayers of this State,” according to the bill.
Bell introduced the legislation with gay marriage possibly coming to Texas very soon. As the Washington Post noted, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is currently hearing a challenge to same-sex marriage bans in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana and is expected to rule soon. Bell signed an amicus brief in the case supporting his state’s ban.
The bill seemed to anticipate an adverse ruling, taking a rhetorical shot at the federal judiciary.
“The State is not subject to suit in law or equity pursuant to the eleventh amendment of the United States Constitution for complying with the provisions of this section, regardless of a contrary federal court ruling,” it states.
The legislation also seeks to ward off any litigation.
“A court of this State shall dismiss a legal action challenging a provision of this section and shall award costs and attorney ’s fees to a person or entity named as a defendant in the legal action,” it says.
Lead image: Bell, left, with incoming Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. (Image via Facebook)