Texas AG: Clerks Can Refuse To Give Marriage Licenses To Gay Couples

Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, addresses the opening session of the 82nd Texas Legislature, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Sunday told county clerks in the state that they can refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples if the clerk religiously objects to same-sex marriage.

Paxton, who issued a blistering statement on Friday condemning the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, initially said that the state would be following the ruling. But on Sunday, he issued an “opinion” to answer questions about implementing the law.

“Now hundreds of Texas public officials are seeking guidance on how to implement what amounts to a lawless decision by an activist Court while adhering both to their respective faiths and their responsibility to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution,” he said in the statement.

He noted that there is not “a court order in place in Texas to issue any particular license whatsoever – only the flawed direction by the U.S. Supreme Court on Constitutionality and applicable state laws.”

Paxton said that county clerks can “retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses.” He also said that judges and justices of the peace can make similar claims if they religiously object to gay marriage.

He said that clerks who refuse to issue licenses may face lawsuits. But he said that “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights.”

“Texas must speak with one voice against this lawlessness, and act on multiple levels to further protect religious liberties for all Texans, but most immediately do anything we can to help our County Clerks and public officials who now are forced with defending their religious beliefs against the Court’s ruling,” Paxton said in the statement.

Couples who are unable to obtain marriage licenses will be able to ask U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia to hold the clerk refusing to issue a license in contempt of court, according to the Dallas Morning News. Garcia has also issued an injunction against the state defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

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Notable Replies

  1. It won’t work.

    I hope you’re arrested and charged with being an ignorant ass.

  2. If Democrats had realized you can just ignore the Supreme Court, Al Gore could have been President of 20 states.

  3. If one can’t perform their job duties for any reason, there is a remedy: fire them.

  4. What with screeching about Jade Helm 15 and thinking there are abandoned IS prayer rugs all up and down the Rio Grande and wailing and running in circles over gay marriage, I’m beginning to think of a certain type of Texan as being much more prone to panic and hysteria than I would have ever imagined. It’s embarrassing, frankly, I mean guys, come on, toughen up and pull yourselves together.

  5. Avatar for jw1 jw1 says:

    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Sunday told county clerks
    in the state that they can refuse to issue marriage licenses
    to gay couples if the clerk religiously objects to same-sex marriage.

    Our AG Paxton is going to be a very busy man, until he backs down.

    Pity. We used to be just a corporatist-RWNJ state.
    Now we’re going all Christianist-RWNJ too.
    (Greg Abbott is a manipulable simp.)

    Here come the boycotts!


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