Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Says Public Officials Can Refuse to Issue Gay Marriage Licenses
The fight for same-sex marriage isn't quite over yet. Following the Supreme Court ruling based on Obergefell v. Hodges, Attorney General Paxton is telling county clerks and other officials in Texas that they can deny marriage license requests from same-sex couples.
Attorney General Paxton issued an official statement through his website and said:
“Friday, the United States Supreme Court again ignored the text and spirit of the Constitution to manufacture a right that simply does not exist. In so doing, the Court weakened itself and weakened the rule of law, but did nothing to weaken our resolve to protect religious liberty and return to democratic self-government in the face of judicial activists attempting to tell us how to live."
He summed up his arguments with this:
County clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. The strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case.
Justices of the peace and judges similarly retain religious freedoms, and may claim that the government cannot force them to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies over their religious objections, when other authorized individuals have no objection, because it is not the least restrictive means of the government ensuring the ceremonies occur. The strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case.
We'll have to wait and see what happens now and if any clerks, justices or judges decide to retain their freedoms. The bottom line is that this is far from over.
Can the government force its employees to do something against their religious freedoms? Despite what side you're on, it does raise some interesting questions.