AG Opinion Request: Are State Agencies Violating Texas Marriage Laws?

Jul 28, 2015

VSU Header(620-240)The fallout of the U.S. Supreme Court’s egregious same-sex ‘marriage’ decision continues to build. Just days after the Court’s Obergefel decision, the Employee Retirement System of Texas (ERS) announced that same-sex ‘spouses’ may enroll in the Texas Employees Group Benefits Program, despite the fact the Court did not order states to pay for tax-payer funded same-sex benefits.

In addition, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) unilaterally changed the state marriage license application to delete the blanks for “man” and “woman” and replaced them with “applicant one” and “applicant two.”

Dan flynn

State Rep. Dan Flynn

In response to these rogue actions by Texas state agencies, State Rep. Dan Flynn (R) has submitted an Attorney General Opinion Request to Texas AG Ken Paxton requesting clarification on the “status of law pertaining to marriage in Texas.” His formal request seeks guidance on the following five questions:

  1. What is the current law pertaining to marriage in Texas?
  2. Is action by the Texas legislature required to implement same-sex marriage in Texas?
  3. Without revision to Texas statute, are marriage licenses issued to same-sex individuals since June 26, 2015, valid?
  4. Absent further action by the Texas Legislature, do state agencies have authority to adopt policies and procedures to grant other benefits, specifically including employment benefit programs and adoption, arising under Texas law to same-sex couples?
  5. In the event that the Texas legislature does not amend current law, what action could the federal government take to implement same-sex marriage?

In closing, Rep. Flynn makes clear his belief that the Texas Legislature is the only governmental authority in Texas that has the constitutional authority to revise the marriage laws of Texas:

“Even after the DeLeon Final Judgment enjoining enforcement of “Texas laws prohibiting same-sex marriage,” the remaining Texas statutes do not provide for marriage other than between one man and one woman. Pursuant to the Texas Constitution, legislative powers are granted only to the Texas Legislature; therefore, only the legislature has authority to revise state law in conformance with the Obergefel and DeLeon decisions. Absent action by the Texas Legislature, execute branch agencies, such as DSHS, have not been delegated authority to promulgate policies or procedures to implement same-sex marriage in Texas or other benefits. Therefore, any marriage license issued in contradiction with Texas state law or other policy unilaterally awarding benefits to same-sex couples are invalid.”

It continues to be alarming that some state government entities are bypassing the people of Texas and their elected representatives in rushing to recognize same-sex ‘marriages’ without regard to state law or state tax dollars. We applaud Rep. Flynn for his important AG opinion request, and we continue to call on all state elected officials to start demanding that the rule of law be followed.

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