TEXAS: AG Ken Paxton No Longer Faces Contempt Charges Over Death Certificates Issue

From the Dallas NBC affiliate:

A lawyer says Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton no longer faces a contempt of court hearing after the state agreed to update vital record policies for same-sex couples. The cancellation Monday means that Paxton must no longer appear before a federal judge and possibly be held in contempt over whether Texas has impeded gay rights since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage earlier this summer. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ordered Paxton to his courtroom last week after a gay Houston man said the state refused to amend the death certificate of his late husband. Neel Lane, an attorney for the surviving husband, said the agreement should spare other Texas same-sex couples from similar hurdles. Paxton had been fighting the order to personally appear in court.

Now Paxton only has to worry about those pesky multiple felony charges for securities fraud.

  • Mark

    When Juliet found that Romeo had drank all the poison..she exclaimed “CHURL!”

    But, with Paxton getting off the hook – I can’t get past ‘well, shit!’

    • ECarpenter

      He’s not off the hook yet. The judge is pretty wonderful.

  • crewman

    I think he should still be held in contempt for taking this so far and for the stress he put the surviving husband through.

  • gaymex

    That’s a perfect photo for a white collar criminal. We’ll see how he manages to manipulate the system in his upcoming trial for securities fraud. The white boys shoved Martha Stewart under the bus for a lot less than what this guy has been charged with.

  • People4Humanity

    Was Paxton ordered to pay legal fees of the surviving husband?

  • canoebum

    That is one punchable face. He’ll look good in orange.

  • ECarpenter

    The contempt hearing was stayed for 30 days – if he does not comply with the court’s orders, he will be back in court for contempt. That threat is still hanging over him.

    The judge assigned the plaintiffs’ lawyer to oversee the changes and validate that the state begins doing it’s job properly, so it’s all over but the shouting probably.

    • StraightGrandmother

      That is sweet, thank you for that little extra detail.

      • Mike in Texas

        He’s not off the hook until the state provides proof of compliance by way of producing all relevant policy changes.

    • Rambie

      Since the surviving husband is also terminally ill with just a few months left, this better not be a delay tactic by Texas.

      • Mike in Texas

        The husband’s issue has been taken care of, and a new death certificate issued.

  • GunnaHurt

    Don’t worry. He’s probably still going to jail.

  • TJay229

    I knew he’d send a new directive very quickly to ammend his previous directive, so that he wouldn’t have to stand in front of the judge and spout nothing but conjunctions. LOL

  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    Paxton, – still a contemptible weaselpecker.

  • JW Swift

    Should’ve guessed that a lawyer (after all, isn’t an AG just a glorified lawyer?) would find some way to weasel his way out of trouble. If the skin color were different, he’d be under the bus already. (Of course if his skin color were different, he’d have no hope of getting that high-level of a job in TX, in the first place.)

  • MattM

    “Forget it, Jake; it’s Texas.”

  • Daniel

    Wait, what? So if I get a ticket for going 80 in a 55, but then I slow down to 54, the ticket evaporates, right?

    • IamM

      This ⬆️ is my thought. Sometimes a warning is enough, but sometimes (or with some people) you need to make it clear that you’re not playing games.

  • Being held in contempt is usually used to force compliance, and is lifted once the subject complies with court orders. So if the death certificaywas issued, the AG is no longer out of compliance. I’m assuming the aclu or others are prepared to file more suits for any other instances of governmental noncompliance that arise.

    • IamM

      Yes, but…it’s one thing for judges to generally use the threat of being held in contempt as a carrot and stick combo where the threat goes away as soon as resistance stops. But with Rethugliscum like Paxton or Roy Moore who continually try one petty bullshit obstruction after another to harass, delay, or grandstand – I think you soon come to a point where the wisest course is to just smack them down hard with the charge so they know not to keep playing childish games.

  • EdA

    But can I still have contempt for him and his ilk???

  • anne marie in philly

    throw him in jail just because he exists and breathes my air!

  • billbear1961


    This smirking crook is in CONTEMPT!

    Why let the bastard off the hook?!

    “Paxton had been fighting the order to personally appear in court.”

    I’ll just BET he was!

    “Neel Lane, an attorney for the surviving husband, said the agreement should spare other Texas same-sex couples from similar hurdles.”

    It damned well BETTER!

    What Texas did was done with malice aforethought, i.e. with no legal justification whatsoever, but with nothing in mind but the desire to INJURE–the sadistic desire to wound a dying man who has every RIGHT to see his name appear as the surviving spouse on his husband’s death certificate.

    What Texas did was motivated by nothing but sheer, unadulterated ANIMUS; and they should PAY for that!

    John should be awarded substantial damages!

  • Mike in Texas

    This article from earlier today is incomplete. Other sources are reporting that the hearing has been postponed until September 10. If the states produces all relevant policy changes and proves compliance, then that hearing may be cancelled.