TEXAS: AG Ken Paxton Says Clerks Can Refuse To Issue Marriage Licenses

Via the Austin Statesman:

County clerks can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on religious objections to gay marriage, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Sunday. Paxton noted that clerks who refuse to issue licenses can expect to be sued, but added that “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs,” in many cases without charge. The formal opinion did not specify what constitutes a sincerely held religious belief, noting that “the strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case.”

“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,” Paxton said. Paxton’s opinion also noted that judges and justices of the peace can refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

Paxton: “The reach of the court’s opinion stops at the door of the First Amendment and our laws protecting religious liberty.”

Read the full opinion.

  • ZnSD

    Texas, goddamn!

  • Wynter Marie Starr

    If the clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples are themselves divorced or issue them to those they know are remarrying or to women who are visible pregnant, they should be personally sued and fired. Immediately. Because at that point, it is clear their objections are not religious.

    Although, if you can’t do your job, you should be fired anyway. How about if teachers refuse to teach the children of religious extremists or conservatives? A religious objection could certainly be made. I’m truly sick of the hypocrisy these people display, along with their hatred.

  • b

    Conservatives want to harm gay families and their kids. The purpose, is harm. There is no other reason. It makes no other sense. No damage is done to heterosexual unions, and kids with parents in heterosexual unions. The purpose is damage to us — bigotry.

    • Daveed_WOW

      Correct. I’ve always felt this way. Their goal is never to protect themselves, or to avoid involvement with others, but to punish transgressors.

      • b

        They crave harm; evil. What other explanation is there? Our unions are harmless.

    • Strepsi

      They have had over 5 years’ of cases in every level of court in the U.S. to give a single solid compelling legal-based reason to discriminate, and failed. When you look at the logical fails (marriage clearly does not equal procreation) and the hypocrisy (no one to my knowledge has EVER tried a State ban on divorce) the courts have all concluded that the sole driver is animus against gay people.

      What DID piss me off in the dissent is Roberts’ worrying that people will be called “bigots” — so you’d rather deny my people 1,000 legal benefits to prevent someone being called a NAME? gtfo

      • Mark McGovern

        Furthermore, the unelected leaders of these movements make a lot of money off the backs of those they persecute, drawn from the purse of those who follow them. Ironically, the lot of their ilk espouse market values and fiscal conservatism where government is involved. In reality, if they were judged by the same performance driven market principles, the whole stining bunch would be called on the carpet this morning, and fired.

      • Todd20036

        Roberts is a serious disappointment. I really thought he would be on the side of equality. No other minority – religious or physical, had to get the majority opinion on their side first.

        But gays have to. Gee, thanks Roberts. Thanks for nothing.

        • Steverino

          He deserves to have his lesbian cousin give him the finger. But like Auntie Em in response to Elvira Gulch, she’s likely too good to do so.

      • Eric in Oakland

        Besides, the bigots would still be bigots even without the ruling. All Roberts did was prove himself to be one as well.

    • Ron Robertson

      Here’s the thing about his stupid memo. According to his “logic” it was wrong for people to deny marriage licenses if their sincerely held religious beliefs and first amendment rights required them to offer marriage licenses to gay people. #rightwingerscantthink

      • Latner

        As long as they similarly refuse to give licenses to adulterers, liars, theives, anyone who works on Sunday, takes the Lord’s name in vain, eats shellfish, etc.

  • amboy00

    I’ve been @ing him on Twitter all afternoon. He won’t reply tho. Strange.

    Anyway, we settled the idea that public officials can pick which citizens to serve or not in the ’50s and ’60s civil rights litigation. They cannot.

    Also, ACLU of Texas has set up a hotline. “@ACLUTx: Same sex marriage hotline opens tomorrow at 10 a.m. Contact us at 888.503.6838 if you’ve been discriminated against. #LoveWins #Out4Freedom”

  • David_M

    Yeah, this’ll work out well. Because allowing court clerks to choose whom will receive their duly appointed civic duties based on a whim of Not Pissing Off SkyDaddy™ is *always* the best option.

    I’m glad ACLU is all over this. They’re gonna be busy folks.

  • objectivistking

    Le Sigh. Cynical. Me and him.

  • 41pc

    So my TX tax dollars will be used to support and defend harm against me?

    • Bluto

      yup. Bigotry works a lot easier when someone else is paying for it, especially if it’s the victims.

    • MBear

      as it always has. pray, this isn’t news, is it?

  • geoffalnutt

    Religious Liberty? In other words: “I hate you!” Yawn, scratch, burp.

  • Todd Isaac

    My concern will also be for the clerks that have no problem issue marriage licenses. If you are a clerk with a boss that religiously opposes the issuance of licenses. Will you be pressured with the threat of job loss, bad review, etc if you do issue a license. I can see some people trying to instill fear into people who just want to do their jobs and issuance licenses to all.

    • Todd20036

      Could happen, but that’s where the law suits come in. All the clerks have to do is say they are following the federal law, and they will win.

      Texas will be all the poorer as a result of these suits, but seriously, who cares anymore?

      • McSwagg

        Well, it’s not like they’re spending the money on education or flood control projects.

        • Kruhn

          The only true education is the Bible and the only way to control floods is to get on your knees and repent you filthy sinner lest your eternal soul be damned to Hell

          In Christ Love,

          Greg Abbott
          Ken Paxton

          Please do not reach for your torches and pitchforks, that was a bit of Internet theatre.

      • Randy Left Brooklyn

        Do you really believe those clerks could win that type of lawsuit in Texas? Those types of lawsuits are very hard to win. If they were easy to win, there wouldn’t be any discrimination against women, blacks, etc. But there is.

      • Eric in Oakland

        Not to mention that it would also represent religious discrimination, which is illegal.

      • Latner

        But how many low-level govt clerks are going to go to the trouble to sue their boss over this? Saying “but they will win a lawsuit…” implies that people are willing to risk the short-term effects of being fired, sticking their neck out, etc. Most in that situation would just quietly go along, especially in very conservative areas where making waves could make them a pariah. I suspect you’ve never lived in a small town, which is what most of Texas is.

  • Daveed_WOW

    Word salad

  • DN

    So if county clerks have a right to never have their job description change, does that mean I missed the opportunity to block my company’s merger 10 years ago? I sure as hell didn’t want to move to Phoenix…

  • AtticusP

    Y’all-Queda strikes again!!!

    • Traxley Launderette

      Oh yes, I am stealing that. Thanks for my second Monday morning laugh. (My first was listening to NPR’s interview with Ted Cruz and reading the resulting comments on the NPR FB page.)

  • Corey

    For those in Texas, the interactive map of counties allowing marriage is below. It is 3 days old now but a guide og where lawsuits will likely happen:

    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/state/headlines/20150626-interactive-map-how-texas-counties-are-handling-same-sex-marriage-licenses.ece

    • People4Humanity

      Thar’s money in them thar Texas hills, y’all!

      • bJason

        There are hills in Texas? 🙂

        • People4Humanity

          The area around Austin [our blueberry in the sea of red]
          is referred to as, ‘the hill country.’

        • McSwagg
          • BobSF_94117

            Paid for with federal dollars…

          • McSwagg

            Of course!

        • Ted.OR

          Mount Bonnell in Austin is almost 780 feet high (about 235 meters).

    • Corey

      Sorry for cellphone typo — “It is 3 days old now but a guide nevertheless of where lawsuits will likely happen:”

    • Herald

      Thanks for that link, I hope they update it.
      Was so glad to see that the county we used to live in and the one my wife grew up in were both in the YES column.

    • William

      My county is a NO.

      • David Walker

        Sorry, William. That sux.

        • William

          It’s 2:30 pm CDT and the answer is still no.
          Bastrop County is waiting on guidance from its district attorney.

          The county DA is a teabilly extraordinaire.

  • Homo Erectus

    Why are they called “Civil Servants”?

  • hdtex
    • carswell

      It is no small consolation to know that assholes like Ken Paxton, Roy Moore and Antonin Scalia will be reviled by history, eternally viewed as symptoms of an illness, forever seen as bigots alongside the likes of Orval Faubus, Strom Thurmond and, yes, George Wallace. Call it future schadenfreude.

    • David Walker

      To paraphrase Jefferson Airplane:
      Don’t you want somebody to hate, don’t you
      Need somebody to hate, wouldn’t you
      Love somebody to hate, you better
      Find somebody to hate

  • GarySFBCN

    Unless those clerks are working inside of a church, they cannot refuse to issue marriage certificates because of their religious beliefs.

    • DonnaLee

      Right, and they should be fired for not doing their f**king jobs!

    • Not OK

      TAXPAYERS in any county where a clerk refuses to help a same-sex couple should never tolerate someone WHOM THEY ARE PAYING electing not to serve them, for any reason. To me, that is beyond outrageous.

      If you are a clerk who has religious objections to something that is now part of your duties, you need to find another job.

      Just like, if you wish to be a cab driver in an American city and refuse to serve women with uncovered arms due to religious objections, you simply need to find another job.

      Remember, the 9/11 hijackers were carrying out sincerely held religious beliefs.

      Religious freedom ends when you are screwing over — or worse — other people.

    • B Snow

      Unless the state passes that law extending “Pastor Protections” to non-pastors, for just this purpose. “Slimy” is not nearly a strong enough word to describe them.

  • Adam Schmidt

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, religious liberty is the idea that all laws apply to all people, unless you have a sincere belief that they don’t.

  • Michael Rush

    you can always stick to the first amendment and act like the 14th amendment doesn’t exist – until someone figures it out .

  • Anastasia Beaverhousen

    “Loren, I gots to tell two of them there dirty queers I want gonna give them no marryin’ license. It sure were funny.”

    • nycmcmike

      Pretty sure the correct spelling would be “gotz”

      • olandp

        Not everyone is fluent in hillbilly.

        • Hue-Man

          For obvious reasons, it’s not a written language.

  • Blake Jordan

    So rethuglicans hate giving money to anyone, but the already rich, but they will happily pay civil servants not to do their jobs…

  • nycmcmike

    It’s f#cking pissing me off how people think they can end anything with “because I’m a Christian” and expect others to take their views as excused. As a believer I can assure you God has nothing to do with it.

    • Gest2016

      Every time they use their religion to justify hate, they destroy the legitimacy of their own religion. Nobody is buying their bullshit any more. They dig their own graves.

    • StSean

      i want to become a clerk in texas so i can stone non-virgins to death, as god has commanded.

      • Ted.OR

        While you’re at it, also ask every opposite-sex couple:
        – Is either of you divorced?
        – Have you already had sex with each other?
        – Are y’all religious, and the same religion?
        – ….
        Then if any of the answers are “wrong”, you can say, “Sorry, my deeply held religious belief says no marriage licence for you! “

        • JCF

          Every “spilling of seed” (the Sin of Onan) in the Wrong Hole (or non-hole).

  • Michael Rush

    even if they could force everyone to join their one true religion they have to decide what it is exactly , then ALL citizens of the united states must agree on it . if you get three religious nuts together they would never agree on anything so most likely this is not going to happen .

  • Duh-David

    So much of this seems to me like folks insisting that they have a right to have Their Country or at least Their State run in accordance with Their Interpretation of Their Religion. They do not grasp that that’s not how it works in Our America.

    • BlueberriesForMe

      Sigh. “That’s not how this works. That’s not how ANY of this works”.

    • McSwagg

      Sadly, most of these small towns and rural counties have been governed as de-facto theocracies for generations. Diversity is just now coming to them and they will fight it tooth and nail to ‘preserve their perceived rights’.

      • Ted.OR

        Nor do they anticipate “unintended consequences”. Example: Louisiana loved it when they enacted that public vouchers can be used to send students to private (i.e, “Christian”) schools. Then, surprise surprise, they found out that those vouchers also applied to Muslim schools.

  • Homo Erectus

    According to this old gay marriage map, Texas isn’t supposed to have marriage equality for at least 2 more years.

    • People4Humanity

      A pox on this silly map!

    • Michael Rush

      now it can be called
      ” map of the most undesirable places to live for various reasons “

  • Jerry Curtin

    How is it even possible that he graduated from law school with such a fundamentally wrong understanding of how the government works?

    • canoebum

      He should be disbarred for writing that letter. He is clearly not qualified to be an officer of the court.

  • delk

    Dean of Liberty Law School:

    I got some good news and some bad news.

    The good news is we found you a whole bunch of work.
    The bad news is you won’t be paid for it.

    Praise Jeebus

    • Gustav2

      They will be paid, ADF alone has $4 million in the bank.

  • KnownDonorDad

    Don’t make us come down there. Again.

    • McSwagg

      I know it’s nitpicking, but this picture is of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

      • KnownDonorDad

        Point noted and appreciated; as a Northern elitist I tend to lump the Southern states together. 😉

      • charliebkk

        My mother’s alma mater (long before 1957)

  • j.martindale

    NO! The reach of this opinion stops at America’s shores. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution now guarantees us the right to marriage. You are nothing but a criminal now, Paxton, and a lying lawyer giving bad advice to public servants. I await lawsuits and a waste of Texass tax money.

    • Homo Erectus

      This is why we can’t have nice things………..

    • JustSayin’

      14th.

  • DangerMouseBen

    From a piece at Slowly Boiled Frog

    “We never sought nor required your approval for our marriage. Our world does not orbit around the religious beliefs of orthodox Catholics. We don’t care.”

    http://www.slowlyboiledfrog.com/

    • Ted.OR

      I still want them to point out which verse(s) in the Bible talk about “income tax: married filing jointly or married filing separately”.

  • TexPlant

    So, I can refuse to pay texas sales tax, property tax or any other tax based on my deeply held beliefs

    • StSean

      AND since charging interest is against god’s word, your credit card and student loan debt will quickly go down!

  • Blake Mason

    I see job openings.

  • disQusTed

    So… If I’m a Muslim working at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Texas I don’t have to issue a driver’s license to a woman because it goes against my religious belief. Got it!

    • Ted.OR

      OTOH, if you’re a county clerk, and a Muslim man comes in and says his “deeply held religious belief” allows him four wives, you are free to issue him the marriage licences.

  • Mark

    Civil fucking law bitches. If you CAN’T do your job you’re paid to do; quit and someone else will do it who can. I’m fucking fed up with these goddamn religionists.

  • Gustav2

    How does a religious person object to a completely secular document?

    • Homo Erectus

      It’s Texas, fer chrissake.

      • Gustav2

        It is un-American for a government employee to refuse a legal service to a citizen. Once again, Texas proves it does not have American values.

  • A Big Sarcastic Fairy!

    Yeah, how well did that go over when the SCOTUS ruled in favor of interracial marriage?

  • Mark

    If the right to gay marriage doesn’t exist – then why was it necessary to pass laws for straight marriage? The ‘right’ for anyone to marry has been there all along – from day one of our Constitution. Only assholes – like Paxton – have put their interpretation (religion) ahead of the law.

    But that’s ok. By the time all is said and done, xtians are going to get pushed right back to ‘sunday only’ status as their numbers dwindle and they become insignificant. It will happen. It has to happen or their model of a theocracy will consume rule.

    So – keep it up Pax. Let the world know exactly where this fight needs to start and the extremists that must be relegated to the unemployment lines. We’ve been through the tough shit – and we now have Supreme Court rulings on OUR side. We will either take you down to financial ruin – or jail. Your pick. Bring it on, asshole.

  • Mike in Texas

    ACLU has decided to drop support for RFRA laws.

    “Yes, religious freedom needs protection. But religious liberty doesn’t mean the right to discriminate or to impose one’s views on others. The RFRA wasn’t meant to force employees to pay a price for their employer’s faith, or to allow businesses to refuse to serve gay and transgender people, or to sanction government-funded discrimination. In the civil rights era, we rejected the claims of those who said it would violate their religion to integrate. We can’t let the RFRA be used as a tool for a different result now.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/congress-should-amend-the-abused-religious-freedom-restoration-act/2015/06/25/ee6aaa46-19d8-11e5-ab92-c75ae6ab94b5_story.html

    • Stev84

      A blind man could have seen that those laws would end in nothing but disaster. But too many people don’t realize how extremist religion in in the US because they have nothing to compare it to.

  • debra

    Thats why my sister and her wife were married the first day. Strangers gave them flowers and gifts and shot them with glitter!

    • B Snow

      Congratulations to them!

  • Richard Rush

    “Friday, the United States Supreme Court again ignored the text and spirit of the Constitution to manufacture a right that simply does not exist.

    If they were experts in what does or does not exist, they wouldn’t believe in their god’s existence.

    • canoebum

      “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” –Article 11, Bill of Rights, Constitution of the United States

  • Ninja0980

    I said this when we had to pass the deal with the devil clerk exemption here in NY and I’ll say it now.
    Government offices are NOT churches and I’ll be damned if I have to go through a religous test to get my rights.
    Sue these clerks into the ground, enough is enough.

  • Herald

    These clerks are in trouble –
    Paxton noted that clerks who refuse to
    issue licenses can expect to be sued, but added that “numerous lawyers
    stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs,” in many
    cases without charge.
    That sounds like ADF and LIberty. With their track record, this will be something to see.

    • Well that seals their loss, being defended by those rubes.

  • olandp

    There may be lawyers willing to defend them at no charge, but the clerks need to ask who is going to pay when they lose, because they are going to lose. There will be damages and attorney fees for which the clerks will be responsible. Alliance Defending “Freedom” doesn’t cover that. Perhaps then the clerks can sue the Attorney General.

    And Paxton, your religious liberty extends to the tip of your nose, as does ours.

  • William

    Clerks not wanting to perform their duties are free to apply at their local Whataburger. Please note, cheeseburgers are in violation of Leviticus.

    • BobSF_94117

      And bacon cheeseburgers are actually Satanic.

      • LonelyLiberal

        Delicious, delicious, Satanism.

    • Ted.OR

      I’ll have a Dude from Dairy Queen. No, I don’t mean a “dude”, rather, a “Dude”.

  • Harley

    I’m so glad that our neglected schools and minimum wage teachers are less important than preserving the rights of bigots to defend their bigotry. Republicans.

  • Quizás, Quizás, Quizás

    Perhaps it is now time to call for a Federal prosecution of Paxton for his Securities Fraud violations? Perhaps it is time for a Federal Court to impose fines of $1 million per violation per day, with county clerks, justices of the peace, judges, and state officials being held personally liable? Perhaps it is time to jail state officials on contempt of court charges?

  • bkmn

    I hope that any JMG readers in TX have the time to write a letter to the Texas Bar Association requesting AG Paxton be disbarred for refusing to follow established law. The court ruled, they lost, now they have to follow the law. PERIOD.

  • Michael

    Ken Paxton has granted permission for Muslim civil servants to refuse marriage licenses to Jewish applicants.

    Fundies never think about the ramifications of their actions.

  • bitwise

    It’s good to know that Texas judges can now refuse to grant divorces based on their own personal religious beliefs.

  • JustSayin’

    Interesting bit of fiction by Paxton. In it he states that the only restrictions on the people authorized to perform weddings are race, religion and national origin. He also specifically lists Rabbi’s and Christian Ministers but not specifically Muslim Imam’s. The opinion declares that rabbis must therefore marry Muslims since religion is not a basis of refusal.

    He also states that there is a possible question that a SS Couple even has a right to ask for a marriage license…

    One thing he is very clear on, though the fundies will never read that part, is that in some circumstances they will most certainly violate the law if they fail to issue licenses to SS couples.

    Let the lawsuits commence!

  • Michael

    In related news, how many of you have read this unhinged rant from a South Dakota County Commissioner?

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=966261756759161&id=868758763176128

    • Wow. What a loony toon.

      • Kruhn

        No. This is a Loony Tune LOL

  • Silver Badger

    So many lawsuits, so little time. One hopes that part of the money gained in these lawsuits is donated to the community.

  • Pax Texana

    This is a very revealing article about Paxton’s understanding (or more likely total disregard for) the law he’s supposed to be upholding.

    http://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/paxton-problem

  • Curieux Bleu

    Clearly in many cases the sizes of Assholes are BIGGER in the Lone Star State!

    (I suppose it is so that more shit can come down the chute … but do the taxpayers there really have to pay for the shit?)

    • McSwagg

      I thought everyone knew, ‘Everything is bigger in Texas!’

  • JDM

    If this even makes it to a court, it will be struck down immediately. Religious freedom is a valid argument ONLY in private life. Once you take a job as a marriage clerk, you’re no longer a private citizen. You are an instrument of the state government. Your religious liberties end where my rights begin.

    • sherman

      Unfortunately the right has done a good job of packing courts with activists judges. The egregiously unconstitutional abortion restrictions in Texas are a prime example. One judge even ruled that driving 300+ miles for an abortion did not provide any hardship on women.

      • McSwagg

        Make that 300+ miles each way at least twice, because of the mandatory waiting period between the first visit and the actual procedure.

      • JDM

        Most of the abortion restrictions in Texas have been a result of the legislation, not the courts especially. And I’ve seemed to notice that even Republican-appointed federal judges seem to be remarkably measured and moderate in their opinions, if not downright liberal. Look at Souter and Kennedy as prime examples.

        • sherman

          The restrictions have been legislation of course, but the courts have upheld them. The courts for Texas have been remarkably activist conservative.

  • SFBruce

    Paxton is making sure Texas keeps its reputation for hostility to LGBT people. If he’s smart enough to hold the job, he’s smart enough to know he’s only looking for votes. Disgusting.

  • buster

    I still have not seen any discussion about the “sincerely held religious belief” language in these assertions of rights to discriminate. In a legal sense, what does “sincerely-held” mean? Who gets to decide? And what religion forbids its members from making money by selling products to people whose actions its members may disapprove of? Certainly not Judaism or Christianity? The Bible is full of references to people of faith engaging in commerce with people to whom they felt morally superior. And why is it only same-sex marriage that causes this problem? These people offering a product to the public seem to have no problem with divorcees, or people who eat pork, or atheists. The entire enterprise is yet one more example of people using religion as a cover to further their own bigoted prejudices.

    • BobSF_94117

      The courts in recent years have made it very clear that it’s not the position of the court to analyze a religious belief, not in its sincerity, its logic, its origin, its basis, nothing. You say you believe it, they’ve gotta believe you.

      • buster

        A position that opens the door to all kinds of mischief based upon personal animus, prejudice, and delusion.

        • BobSF_94117

          The only difference now is that the animus, prejudice, and delusion can be more disorganized…

  • Stev84

    If filling out and printing some forms is too much for you, then you should never leave the house. And that’s all clerks do. They process paper work. No ceremony or rituals involved.

  • TexasBoy

    Evidently Paxton believes that Texas counties have unlimited taxpayer funds to fight an unwinnable legal battle through all the layers of the legal system. Let us not forget that the losing side pays legal fees for the winning attorneys.

  • KDKNYC

    “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs,” in many cases without charge.”

    In many cases without charge. That’s the kicker. The AG wants the individual clerks to take the chance that they can get free legal help, but it’s not funded by the state. They’re just standing ready to defend these nitwits.

    If the clerks know what’s good for them, they should do their job.

  • JoyZeeBoy

    I wonder if the AG knows he can be held in contempt of the Supreme Court?

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    How do people in Texas vote for guys like this? He is going to cost the states millions. If I was a judge I’d summarily rule for the couple suing and order the state to give them 5 million each in damages. He should be held in contempt.

    • David Walker

      We, in fact, DO hold him in contempt. As for the legal aspect, “All in good time, my pretty, all in good time.”

  • JJS_prime

    Texas AG Ken Parsons is a lying bastard.

    • McSwagg

      I think you are confusing Jim Parsons (good gay from Texas, and star of ‘The Big Bang Theory’) with AG AG (anti-gay, attorney general) Ken Paxton.

  • Rockola404

    Where is the 5th circuit hiding? Even though they are on recess right now, could they not remotely lift the stay for TX, LA, MS.? Not that it is needed, as Scotus trumps district courts.

  • Xuuths

    I believe all attorneys general who display such ignorance of the law, should be disbarred and removed from office as unqualified.

  • Drayfield

    I think we should start calling anyone who refuses to do their jobs of handing out marriage licenses traitors!

  • Steverino

    In addition to this being illegal discrimination in public accommodations, it is a form of (reverse) religious discrimination, and thus is a violation of the 1st Amendment rights of the gay couples.

  • sword

    It’s going to be easy money for lawyers, when Federal Courts smack down these bigots and award damages and plaintive costs.

  • John Calendo

    This was discussed today on SCOTUSblog’s live forum. The replies are from the blog’s resident lawyers.

  • MrsBettyBowers

    MEMO TO ALL SANCTIMONIOUS BUREAUCRATS REFUSING TO MARRY ALL CITIZENS:
    Here’s a motivational poster to print out and tape to your cubicle. You’re welcome!

  • Eric in Oakland

    “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…”

    Says the guy actively opposing the rule of law by manufacturing a right to discriminate…

  • MBear

    This sets a delightful precedent, because I have a shitload of ‘deeply held religious beliefs’ that are going unfulfilled!

    If I could stomach Texas it might almost be worth it to get a gig there. “Sorry, my deeply held religious belief says you need to show me your penis”

  • Erp

    I’ll note that county clerk in Texas seems to be an elected position so they can’t be fired in the normal sense of the word. His advice also doesn’t say a county can refuse outright and be safe only that an individual within a county can refuse (and alternative arrangement made) and he thinks they will be safe. A key bit of weaseling might be

    “Factual situations may arise in which the county clerk seeks to delegate the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses due to a religious objection, but every employee also has a religious objection to participating in same-sex-marriage licensure. In that scenario, were a clerk to issue traditional marriage licenses while refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, it is conceivable that an applicant for a same-sex marriage license may claim a violation of the constitution.”

    “If instead, a county clerk chooses to issue no marriage licenses at all, it raises at least two questions. First, a clerk opting to issue no licenses at all may find himself or herself in tension with the requirement under state law that a clerk “shall” issue marriage licenses to conforming applications. TEX. FAM. CODE ANN.§ 2.008(a) (West 2006). A court must balance this statutory duty against the clerk’s constitutional rights as well as statutory rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. Second, a court must also weigh the constitutional right of the applicant to obtain a same-sex marriage license. Such a factually specific inquiry is beyond the scope of what this opinion can answer.”

    It should say the applicant has a slam-dunk case of a constitutional violation if they decide to discriminate on such grounds in granting licenses and no amount of lawyers will save the county clerk. However if you issue no licenses you are violating state law (not to mention cutting into county revenue and irritating all county residents who want to get married and their relatives and friends).

    I think a lot of counties are stalling though only a few have outright refused (e.g., San Saba).

  • Sued? Any gay couple refused service should be returning accompanied by U.S. Marshals authorized to take reluctant clerks into federal custody, under arrest for violating federal law as interpreted by the SCOTUS, until such time as they are willing to issue marriage licenses without discriminating against same sex applicants.

    Have a federal judge set “no bail” and let them stew.

  • Circ09

    Equality Texas has done a good job today updating on counties coming into compliance. My county finally starting issuing this morning. Hardin county, where Beaumont-Port Arthur is located, seems to still be holding out. Not a lot of information coming out of the Panhandle yet either.

  • I’m waiting for couples who aren’t LGBT being turned away for religious reasons.

    • Homo Erectus

      Not LGBT = Not icky.

  • billbear1961

    Sue the living CHRIST out of this fascist SHIT of an “AG”!!

    You don’t get to CHOOSE which taxpayers—who PAY YOUR SALARIES—you will and won’t serve, you sanctimonious Josh Duggars and Bristol Palins!

    You aren’t there—you disgusting holier-than-thou hypocrites—to sit in judgment on personal, private matters that are NONE of your concern; but, if you DO choose that path, YOU can be judged and exposed in the public square, as well as sued, jailed or just plain FIRED.

    • Maybe its time for a good ol’ recall action? Get these foot dragging, bigots outta there!

      • billbear1961

        Sadly, the majority in Texas may well approve of what he’s saying, biki.

        I don’t know!

        But if they approve, they are as WRONG as he is!

        • Sigh, I know that my optimism gets in the way of actual cold hard reality. There are times where I wished my heart was a bit harder, as it keeps getting bruised in its current soft state.

      • Homo Erectus

        The clerks aren’t elected. Just hired hands.

  • Jim

    This is nuts. It exposes the state to untold civil judgments against it. If this were private business, this AG would be fired for cause for having failed in his fiduciary responsibilities to his employers. It won’t take long for courts to put an end to this nonsense.

  • GreatLakeSailor

    Texas Clerk Issuing Gay Marriage Licenses In Spite of Her Faith
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/texas-clerk-marriage-religious-objections

    “Personally, same-sex marriage is a contradiction to my faith and belief that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Denton County Clerk Juli Luke said in a statement Sunday, according to the the Denton Record-Chronicle. “However, first and foremost, I took an oath on my family Bible to uphold the law, and as an elected public official, my personal belief cannot prevent me from issuing the licenses as required.”