TEXAS: Gay Couple Settles Marriage Suit Against Hood County Clerk For $44,000 In Legal Fees

The commissioners of Hood County, Texas have agreed to pay the legal fees of the gay couple who sued county clerk Katie Lang, saying that they are saving her from “dealing with the additional expense and significant financial exposure her actions caused the taxpayers of her county.” More from the Dallas Morning News:

It has been a month since Joe Stapleton and Jim Cato finally got the marriage license Hood County Clerk Katie Lang denied them because of her religious beliefs. It only took a federal lawsuit to get it. Today that suit was settled, and according to the attorneys representing Stapleton and Cato, Lang’s refusal to issue the license ended up costing Hood County $43,872.10 in attorney’s fees. They will now move to dismiss the suit. “It is a shame that Hood County Clerk Katie Lang refused to follow the rule of law, causing our clients to go through the difficulties of hiring lawyers and filing a federal lawsuit to obtain the marriage license to which they are constitutionally entitled,” says attorney Pat O’Connell, one of Stapleton and Cato’s attorneys. “And it is sad that the taxpayers of Hood County have to pay the price for their elected official’s misconduct.”

At this writing Lang’s anti-gay declaration remains on her official county website. It reads:

The religious doctrines to which I adhere compel me to personally refrain from issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Nonetheless,the County Clerk’s Office of Hood County will have staff available and ready to issue same-sex marriage licenses. I am grateful that the First Amendment continues to protect the sincerely held religious beliefs of public servants like me. As Justice Kennedy stated, “it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

  • Herald

    Justice Kennedy said that. However, I do not recall him saying you do not have to do the job you signed up for and are paid for.

    • Steverino

      Yes, and he meant it in the context of freedom to believe it, but not necessarily freedom to act upon these beliefs in public accommodations. And I don’t have the quote at hand (I think it was from Hobby Lobby) where he warned against using religion as a cloak for discrimination in public accommodations. Notice how she doesn’t post that quote.

      • Herald

        I did notice that and I don’t have the quote at hand either.

        Not surprised they cherry pick the good Justice since they do it with their Bible every day.

  • anne marie in philly

    bitch, you just cost the taxpayers of hood county $44K for YOUR refusal to do your job! if I were one of those taxpayers, the torches and pitchforks would be at your office! resign, bitch!

  • Gareth

    If she’s going to invoke ‘doctrine’ as some kind of inarguable justification for denying their constitutional rights, she should be held fully accountable for every single infraction she herself has committed against the rules outlined in her holy book. Shell-fish, covetousness, mixed fabrics – the whole shebang. You can’t ‘cry’ doctrine, then pick and choose which bits ought to apply.

    • j.martindale

      But she CAAN, Blanche, because it really isn’t about doctrine. It is about bigotry. The bitch clerk in Kentucky was asked if she would give licenses to people who were divorced, because remarriage is a sin according to her buybull. Her answer was, “That is between them and God.” You see, they only feel they are responsible for discrimination against gays.

  • JT

    Why save her at all? She’s guilty as shit and has failed to do her job or uphold her oath. Fire her and let her pay all the expenses.

    • oikos

      I think the county should sue her on behalf of the taxpayers.

      • HadenoughBS

        When, oh, when are these counties going to realize that blatant bigotry, especially when SCOTUS has ruled on this issue, can be quite expensive to their taxpayers? Is it pure idiocy, stupidty or just plain hatred of us that compels them to act all “picky-religious like”??

        • David Walker


          • HadenoughBS

            Amazing, isn’t it, David? I can’t wait until the federal court settles the issue of the two non-related Davis-named county clerks refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses in Kentucky. I hope the outcome is as delish as I think it’s going to be!

        • CanuckDon

          It’s pure arrogance and a history of privilege that their religion granted them for decades. No doubt that they are living with the idea that this is purely a temporary decision that will be reversed once Republicans “take back America”.

          • HadenoughBS

            Or, as The Donald puts it, “Make America Great Again”.

            Personally, I think America has been pretty great with Obama in the White House these past almost seven years correcting, as much as possible, what W did to us all the while Obama has been fighting against a GOPer-led Congress trying to prevent him from making America even more great again.

          • anne marie in philly


        • fuow

          I’d place my bets on all three.

        • oikos

          They don’t care because it isn’t coming out of their own pockets. If they were made personally liable, things would change quickly.

        • John Masters

          Well, you gave the reason for their lack of interest in the expenses right in your comments, “their taxpayers.” So long as they don’t have to personally cough up the money, they don’t give a damn. It’s more fun to play the victim card, when you personal assets aren’t at risk. Until the courts start requiring the PEOPLE who actually create these messes to pay for their cleanup, expect to see this continue.

        • Maggie 4NoH8

          You might have had a typo? Did you mean “pricky-religious like”?

      • stanhope

        Deduct it from her pay/pension

    • lymis

      Hang her out to dry, and whatever she has on her superiors or peers goes public. She probably has enough to at least create a scandal if she wants.

    • Big Gay Sam

      Unfortunately she’s an elected official so she can’t be fired.

      • JT

        Removal from office would suffice. Presumably there’s a way of dealing that way with someone who does fulfill the required duties.

  • delk

    The religious bigotry doctrines to which I adhere compel me to personally refrain from issuing cherry pick the bible same-sex marriage licenses to allow divorced and adulterous couples to marry while denying the same right to same sex couples.

    • DaddyRay

      Zing – nailed it

    • Buford

      Exactly! This isn’t, “Sorry – I’d love to give you guys a license, but my religion unfortunately forbids it… 🙁 “.

      This is, “Homosexuality is disgusting and gay marriage is unnatural, and my religious leaders told me to refuse to support anything I don’t like!”.

  • She admits she’s a servant of god, not a public servant. For most people, it’s possible to be both, but for her, obviously not. She should quit her public job and become a nun or concubine or whatever.

    • Snownova

      Matthew 6:24

      “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the
      other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You
      cannot serve both God and money.”

      Lady needs to read her Bible.

    • Miji

      If she’s serving god instead of the county, not sure why the county is paying her a salary. Let god take care of her. (I’m annoyed that autocorrect keeps trying to capitalize god for me.)

    • douglas

      Let God pay her salary then.

  • Todd20036

    She’ll get more than the fine back from the martyr brigade, but frankly, I think it’s more important that precedence is set. If someone else pulls this shit, this case can be referenced.

    • Circ09

      Pulls what shit, though? This bitch is still getting away with not doing her job. She is having someone else in her office do it for her. We won the battle but this sets dangerous precedent for the war against “sincerely held religious belief” that is coming.

      Watch Davis over in Kentucky try this one on next using this case.

  • The taxpayers of Hood County should petition the county to bring her to trial for incompetency and official misconduct. Get her out of office.


    • People4Humanity

      I second this motion — and I am unanimous in this!

    • Stev84

      And have her reimburse the money

    • Circ09

      That would be nice but too many there think like her. I’m disappointed the couple settled the lawsuit because this bitch is still refusing to do her job and will be allowed to continue with her conduct.

    • Buford

      You’re assuming that her constituents are angry with her actions… when it’s just as likely that many/most support her refusal to marry gay couples and consider her obstinance to be ‘the good fight’. Sadly, this is Texas.

  • Gigi

    “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Roman 13:1-2)

    • grada3784

      Yeah, but Bible rules never apply to True Christians™.

      • Joseph Miceli

        1. Yes, absolutely
        2. How do you get the little “TM” symbol?

        • Marc

          It’s in the character map (if you’re on a windows computer, it’s under “Accessories”). If I recall correctly, the keyboard shortcut is ALT+0153

          • Strepsi

            …and on a Mac it’s option-2 = ™

          • ™ Thanks!!!

          • Joseph Miceli

            THANK YOU!!!! (TM) just isn’t the same. 🙂

  • TommyTune

    I have a sincerely-held religious belief that would compel me to prevent her from buying all that peroxide she uses to bleach out her stringy, ugly hair. Gawd didn’t make your hair that color, honey. It’s unnatural, therefore you shouldn’t make it look like that. So there.

  • bryan

    It is my sincerely held belief that the money should be taken from her wages.

  • oikos

    “it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to
    religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere
    conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be


  • sw42

    That language being on the website makes me really really angry!!

    • Six Pins Delores

      Hope it makes someone in the county angry enough to file a law suit. Tax payer funded advertising of bigotry must be actionable?

  • geoffalnutt

    “sincerely held religious beliefs” = “I hate you”. The End.

  • CB

    Someone should post this to her website….

    • Shy Guy

      Kill Sons of Sinners (Isaiah 14:21), most translations have “children”.

      Sorry Duggar kids, it’s behind the barn for you.

  • Rick Zajac

    Dock her paycheck.

  • People4Humanity

    Too bad they didn’t get a settlement that included additional cash. They could have used that to bankroll an effort to unseat the rogue clerk in the next election cycle.

  • TJay229


    What law firm represented her, the county, Liberty or Alliance?

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      I believe it was Whee, Fuccup & Howe, losers at law.

      • TJay229


  • Reality.Bites

    Unlike clerks in other states, she was actually following the advice of her state’s attorney general.

    It’s to their credit that the overwhelming majority of clerks in Texas refused to follow the advice of their lawless AG.

    • Ninja0980

      The rest of them had real lawyers who let them know they would be on the hook for legal fees, not the AG.

  • TheManicMechanic

    All this sincere bigotry…

  • MBear

    fuck her
    fuck her religion
    fuck her god
    and fuck her parents for not using a fucking condom

    • Arkansan

      Well, no one can say you don’t give a fuck, or four.

  • Silver Badger

    She was only following orders. Now, where have we heard that before?

  • GunnaHurt

    I hate Christians. Even the “nice” ones. They’re all the fucking same. Letting obviously made up fairy tales become their weapons they use against other people.

    • Dreaming Vertebrate

      Hate the beliefs, but love the believers.
      (Show them some snarky Christian love.)

      • GunnaHurt

        I don’t. Fuck em all.

        • Octavio

          I agree. There is no reason to mollycoddle a person’s unscientifically proved “beliefs” especially when those beliefs injure the health, happiness and freedoms of others. Fuck ’em.

    • RoFaWh

      Is it just me, or does Southern fundgelicalism strike anybody else as ripe for being replaced by some new religion? Those people, even the ones that go to church a lot, are not what anyone in their right mind would call “religious”.

      It’s not easy starting a new religion, btw. Mani, the founder of Manichaeanism, did just that, but his production, though it had adherents from Gibraltar to China, didn’t last. And where is Mithraism or the cult of Isis these days?

      One might even ask why modern New Religions usually don’t get very far. Christian Science, Seventh Day Adventism, Momoism, Scientology: not one has really attracted the number of adherents to make it a genuine success.

      No, not even Momoism, which is held together by the wealth that church has.

      • grada3784

        The way Christians have deified the devil, I think Manichaeism might be very alive and well in this country.

  • Good, all of these payments are well deserved and seeing them paid out is very fulfilling.

  • Steverino

    The fact that people like this have to refer to their religious beliefs as “sincerely held” proves they are not. It is like the concept of “protesting too much.”

    “Sincerely held religious beliefs” are neither. It is a bullshit excuse for cloaking illegal discrimination in religion.

  • Ninja0980

    If she wants to be a servant of god, then resign from office and become a nun.
    Otherwise, do your damn job and quit trying to impose your religious beliefs in a PUBLIC job.

    • RoFaWh

      Holy Rollerism doesn’t have nuns. Nor does Snake Handlingism.

      • grada3784

        No nuns. Just plenty of nunsense.

  • Andrew

    So that’s where Teri Garr went!

    • Octavio

      Sadly, Teri Garr is house-bound, suffering from multiple sclerosis and still recovering from and a brain aneurysm. 🙁

  • Octavio

    So, the bitch still needs to be fired, tarred, and rolled in cactus? When will they figure out they’re are wrong?

    • Circ09

      Not any time soon. Lang gets to continue with her bigotry against LGBT, the county pays all her fees so she is off the hook monetarily, and everyone else thinks things are now hunky-dory fair and equal in the County Clerks Office. Who exactly won here?

      Good on the guys getting married and starting this fight though. I wish them every happiness.

  • stanhope

    Bitch please…if ever there was a sexually frustrated looking cow, she is it.

  • RLK2

    Wait how much the ilk in Kentucky is going to face in terms of fees and settlements when the dust settles there.

    • Arkansan

      At this point the local tax payers should be demanding she stop this non-sense. Since they seem to be ok with it, they deserve whatever burden the final bill is.

  • KQCA

    I flipped the TV on over breakfast and caught Pat Robertson’s rant about us. It was absolutely delicious….like starting my day with dessert.

    He said that the defendants in these anti-gay discrimination cases have been issued gag orders by the courts. Is that true? I hadn’t seen that in stories but I may have missed it. There are so many cases running and Joe is posting them to us as they happen each day.. I have to skim some of the stories to keep up.

    Of course, he explained that these bigots running up legal and court costs are blaming US that they “are forced to” run up these bills. He said it’s all our fault that they have to cost cities, counties, and states so much money to defend them.

    Robertson’s voice trails off at the end of every sentence like he’s run out of stuff to make up. Robertson and his puppet co-host raged about gays, berated the Supreme Court, and dismissed the notion of research and science.

    Then they segued to a commercial about a new movie rallying Christians to go to war for their causes. They returned from commercial break to a segment about “a new discovery made by a medical doctor that proves that women are overweight because of hormones.” Then they pitched a new diet plan that Jesus told someone about….so it could be marketed to the masses….in Jesus’ name, of course.

    • Arkansan

      I turned up the brightness level on my TeeVee and now Pat Robertson doesn’t even show up, but I also lost most of the people interviewed on the local news.

      • KQCA

        LOL. .God, I like you… I wish I knew you.

  • StraightGrandmother

    How does that statement on a government website NOT violate the Establishment clause?

  • Lauchlan Bernard-Christopher M

    If she has through her actions caused Hood County to suffer financial harm and also brought the reputation of her Office into disrepute; Hood County has every right to recoup from her the monies it has expended.

    Oh, and THEN sack her, or recall her or whatever they do in Texanistan