Tony Tinderholt, a Texas State Representative, has filed a complaint, saying that Judge David Wahlberg violated laws when he called the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. According to Tinderholt, the law requires that, before ruling on constitutionality, a judge must contact the State Attorney General’s office.
In February, Wahlberg issued an order, telling county officials to grant a marriage certificate to two women who had been together for 30 years, one of whom was in failing health. The couple felt that this illness made it necessary to expedite their marriage plans, rather than waiting for a Supreme Court ruling later this year.
According to the Texas Tribune, this was quickly followed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton calling for the State Supreme Court to void the couple’s marriage license. The court did place a hold on Wahlberg’s order, but Paxton continues to press for the marriage license to be voided altogether.
Now, State Representative Tony Tinderholt says he’s filed a complaint. He explained his position on his Facebook page.
“On February 19, Judge David Wahlberg issued a ruling that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and ordered a circuit court clerk to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. This judge deliberately violated statutory law that requires judges to notify the Office of Attorney General before ruling on constitutionality.
“Today, I filed an official complaint with the state commission on judicial conduct. When we have an activist judge making decisions outside the law, regardless of the issue, then no Texan is safe.”
Critics, such as blogger Joe. My. God., call Tinderholt’s position against same-sex marriage ironic since the State Rep. is on his own fifth marriage.
Notably, Tinderholt’s complaint has another flaw: According to the Star-Telegram, the law requiring a judge to notify the Attorney General’s office before a constitutionality ruling only applies in case of a “final ruling” — not an order like Wahlberg’s. Probate Judge Guy Herman, who had previously ruled on Texas’ marriage ban, calling it unconstitutional, did indeed contact the Attorney General’s office.
However, the State Rep. maintains that his position isn’t about same-sex marriage at all.
“This is about a Judge acting outside the law. This is not about gay marriage. Thank you guys for paying attention to what’s happening.”
Rulings overturning Texas’ same-sex marriage ban are currently being appealed, and the Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on marriage equality later this year.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]