The Associated Press reports:
Legislators in the nation’s largest conservative state of Texas sought Tuesday to chip away at the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, voting to let county judges and other elected officials recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses if they have personal religious objections.
The bill won preliminary approval in the Senate 21-10, with full Republican support and all but one Democrat opposing it. A final vote, expected to come Wednesday, sends it to the state House. exas’ Republican-controlled Legislature only meets every two years, meaning state lawmakers weren’t able to respond to the high court’s June 2015 gay marriage decision until now. Should the bill become law, however, it will almost certainly be challenged as unconstitutional by federal lawsuits.
“If we don’t do this, we are discriminating against people of faith,” said the sponsor, Sen. Brian Birdwell, a Republican from Granbury about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth. He was referring to clerks, judges, justices of the peace and other elected officials empowered to issue marriage licenses in Texas’ 254 counties.
Birdwell is also the author of a Texas resolution which calls for a national convention of the states to amend the US Constitution. He is a regular speaker for debunked “historian” David Barton’s Wallbuilders evangelical group and was a state co-chair for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.
Texas Senate officially “off the rails” in approving bill to allow County Clerks to opt out of using same-sex marriage certificates.
— CollinCountyDems (@CollinDems) April 11, 2017