Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Texas county will now issue same-sex marriage licenses, reversing earlier stance

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

DALLAS (Reuters)  A Texas county clerk said on Tuesday her office will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, reversing a previous decision that was based on religious objections.

Some counties in other socially conservative states such as Kentucky have declined to issue such licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court said on Friday the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry. The controversy could result in a new round of lawsuits over gay marriage.

Katie Lang, clerk of Hood County, southwest of Fort Worth, said staffers will issue the licenses although she will not do so based on her Christian beliefs, which she believes are protected under the Constitution.

"I am grateful that the First Amendment continues to protect the sincerely held religious beliefs of public servants like me. That has not changed since last Friday," Lang said.

Hood County will begin processing same-sex marriage applications when it receives the appropriate forms, she said.

The clerk's office in Texas counties typically manages forms and licenses, including marriage licenses.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has said county clerks who object to gay marriage can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Paxton, a Republican, said those officials could expect to be sued but would have ample legal support.

"Several groups have publicly expressed their willingness to help government employees who feel their religious rights have been violated," a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office said.

Legal experts said same-sex couples could seek injunctions compelling clerks to issue licenses and easily win, based on the Supreme Court decision. They also could file civil suits seeking damages from counties that are largely rural and short on funds for a prolonged legal fight.

But clerks could try to request preemptively an injunction or judgment that says they do not have to issue the licenses because of religious liberty, said Texas A&M University law professor Meg Penrose.

Counties in the most populous areas of Texas began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples shortly after the Supreme Court ruling.

Out of 254 counties in Texas, 114 are ready and willing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, according to the Dallas Morning News. Nearly 100 other counties said they were waiting for software upgrades and gender-neutral application forms.

By Lisa Maria Garza; Additional reporting by Steve Bittenbender in Louisville, Kentucky; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Mohammad Zargham

Comments

  1. My thoughts are until CO starts arresting those growing and selling pot, or until we start to control our borders, and until all states begin to enforce ALL federal laws, then all states should ignore the Extreme Court’s decision. If all States ignore it, then what will Obama do? Give a speech?

  2. This has more to do with Christians being uneducated about the reality of where and what The Church came from. Christians worked and served the licentious and lascivious Roman populace. Some even as slaves to the same kinds of sexually depraved people that they would be handing a so-called “marriage license” to.

    It is not only a weak argument to claim a religious exemption from handing someone some governmental paperwork, it is one that has no foundation in Christian theology. Like the homosexuals and their rabid mobs of foaming at the mouth supporters scream: “Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t marry someone of the same gender.” Now THAT, is supporting Christian truth and Christian life. There is no justification for condoning Christian homosexuality. But doing your secular job honestly, no matter if it handing some miscreant a license for whatever, is not yoking yourself to unbelievers. It is simply and unfortunately, just part of being IN the world. But not OF it.

  3. Yet another example of just how much whiny conservative Christians hate democracy and the rule of law. I can’t wait until we can start ignoring them as much as we ignore their racist fathers and grandfathers.

  4. Several years ago, Paul Harvey did a story on a letter that he received which was signed by God. While it may have not been, and they could not verify the origin, the meaning was a good one. Through the letter, it pointed out the numerous different religions in the world, and that the majority of them all lead to the same end point, God. Everyone in the world has different beliefs based on their society and how they were raised. It is important to respect the opinions of others, while maintaining your own belief. Our country was started by Settlers coming from England to get away from religion enforcement of the government. Our founding fathers based our country under the policy that government should not enforce a religion on citizens. They also set up a system that respected both the majority and minority in this country. The majority makes policies as long as it does not infringe on the rights of the minority. Something the Texas AG and other officials need to remember.

  5. “It is not only a weak argument to claim a religious exemption from handing someone some governmental paperwork, it is one that has no foundation in Christian theology. ”

    “doing your secular job honestly, no matter if it handing some miscreant a license for whatever, is not yoking yourself to unbelievers.”

    Who replaced our BeBrave with a pod person?

    That was a practically dignified, and reasonable response. I am entirely surprised! In a good way.

    You will probably never hear this again, but we are in agreement here. Even if our ways of getting to the same answer differ dramatically.

  6. S1,

    You do realize don’t you, that “Christianity” is NOT a white European religious movement? It has spread from where it was birthed – the middle east – to be accepted by foreigners and outsiders in just about (if not totally) every country on earth.

    It is being spread now the same way as it was by the Roman-Judean Jewish Apostles since Christ Jesus sent out to do just that.

  7. None of which is remotely relevant to S1’s point.

  8. I think this is someone else posing as Be Brave. A day or two ago there were a few posts under the names Be Brave, Doc Anthony and maybe a couple of others that, like this one, were just a little too reasonable to be the real thing.

    Either that or the astroturfers they get their marching orders from have instructed the minions to play sane for a little while in the immediate wake of Obergefell.

  9. What to make of it is a great excuse when a bible thumping fundies gets caught in a homosexual tryst. You guys are gullible enough to buy, “it wasn’t really me, its demonic possession”.

    Nobody ever suffered overestimating the intelligence of religious fanatics.

  10. I always thought Doc Anthony was one of the moe restrained and articulate conservatives posting on RNS.

  11. Pastors in those areas better put an end to this or their followers will spend all their money on lawsuits instead of giving it to them.

  12. If you don’t know what to make of a story about exorcism and demon possession from a hellhole like Nigeria, you have no business using this internet thingy.

  13. I’m not sure what to make of this, but exorcism is not tied to the priesthood (although it is better done by a priest). So it is possible that this preacher has been given this charism by our Lord. And certainly in our day, when homosexuality is running rampant, one must suspect that the Evil One is responsible for many people who have converted to the gay lifestyle. So it is possible, and would explain much. But Ben, you have a lot of nerve calling Nigeria a hell hole. There are many good Christians there, so maybe a heaven hole?

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