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AG: Texas doesn't have to issue homosexual marriage licenses


Map of Texasby Joseph Earnest


 by Joseph Earnest June 29, 2015


Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas—Attorney General Ken Paxton has said clerks in Texas may deny issuing homosexual marriage certificates to couples on religious grounds. In his written opinion, Paxton said the First Amendment "may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses."  


Paxton wrote: "County clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation to their religious objection 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..."


ken paxton


The Supreme Court last week ruled in favor of redefining marriage, using the 14th Amendment, which was initially intended to protect freed slaves, to nullify the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.


States across America reacted to the decision differently.  While liberal states celebrated the outcome of the ruling, some states are deciding to do away altogether with issuing marriage licenses for both normal couples and homosexuals.


Utah Rep. Jake Anderegg told FOX13, "I’d like to see us out of the marriage business and out of liquor distribution business," acknowledging it would be a monumental task.

In Mississippi, the state House Judiciary Chairman Andy Gipson said his state too may consider pulling the plug on issuing marriage licenses, while Attorney General Jim Hood said the Supreme Court's decision was not effective immediately because Mississippi is still waiting for the 5th Circuit's decision.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is not immediately effective in Mississippi. It will become effective in Mississippi and circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses when the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge Reeves’ order. This could come quickly or may take several days. The 5th Circuit might also choose not to lift the stay and instead issue an order which could take considerably longer before it becomes effective.”

House Judiciary Chairman Gipson said, “One of the options that other states have looked at is removing the state marriage license requirement. We will be researching what options there are. I personally can see the pros and cons to that. I don’t know if it would be better to have no marriage certificate sponsored by the state or not. But it’s an option out there to be considered," Gipson told The Clarion-Ledger.

The State of Texas says it anticipates lawsuits for refusal to issue homosexual marriage licenses, but has assured clerks, judges and justices of the peace that a team of lawyers has been assembled to defend them, most of whom are willing to work on a pro bono basis.

Click here to read download Attorney General Ken Paxton's full opinion. (pop-up)

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 Related story:

How Congress can instantly block the Supreme Court's ruling












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