AG Paxton: Clerks/Judges “Retain Religious Freedoms” On Gay ‘Marriage’
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has released his official Attorney General Opinion regarding the “rights of government officials involved with issuing same-sex marriage licenses and conducting same-sex wedding ceremonies.” The opinion was in response to the formal request filed early this week by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick seeking clarification of the religious freedom rights of county clerks, Justices of the Peace and judges on same-sex ‘marriage’ decisions. Only a small number of Texas counties are actually issuing same-sex ‘marriage’ licenses after the U. S. Supreme Court ruling on Friday and there are reports of county clerks being pressured to violate their religious beliefs on this issue. Texas’ marriage law was not before the Court for a decision.
Paxton’s opinion says in part:
“County clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. The strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case.”
“Justices of the peace and judges similarly retain religious freedoms, and may claim that the government cannot force them to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies over their religious objections, when other authorized individuals have no objection…” CLICK HERE to read the full opinion.
The U. S. Supreme Court did not say that the First Amendment has been repealed just because they issued a decision on gay ‘marriage’. Citizens shouldn’t be forced to surrender their First Amendment rights just because they work for the government. All Texans should be free to believe and should not be forced by the government to violate their sincerely held religious belief that marriage is between one man and woman. We thank Attorney General Paxton for his leadership on this issue.
Also, on Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a directive to state agencies and employees, ordering respect for religious freedom following the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex ‘marriage’.