There appears to be a rebellion once again down in the southern United States. While many celebrated the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision June 26 affirming marriage as a right to be had by all those who choose to pursue lifelong partnerships of that nature, it became very clear that, for Texas, gay marriage would definitely not occur without a fight.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement June 28 which said that state workers could choose not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. While he did caution that those workers who decided to object to giving those licenses could face “litigation and/or a fine,” he said that he would support those wanting to defend their religious rights.
Paxton is a Republican social conservative whom Texas senator Jose Rodriguez says has crossed the line in offering at least moral support to those declining to issue licenses for a Texas gay marriage. He notes that such a refusal could lead to the person’s removal from office because they failed to comply with the law.
Attorney Neel Lane agrees. He argued in favor of same-sex marriage and says that the state could be opening itself up to Section 1983 claims, or claims filed against law officials who are reluctant to follow through on their oath of office.
Texas was not the only state that seemed to be dragging its heels when it came to gay marriage. Once the SCOTUS ruling came down, Louisiana was the only state that had not issued a marriage license to a same-sex couple Friday. Ouachita Parish clerk of court Louise Bond said there was almost always a delay of around three weeks before such judgments came into effect and added that law officials had been told not to issue anything until legal counsel had gotten back to them. In Mississippi, Attorney General Jim Hood said that the Supreme Court ruling was not “immediately effective,” though later he claimed that he had been misinterpreted.
In his press release, Paxton said that allowing Texas gay marriage to occur meant that “county clerks and public officials…are forced with defending their religious beliefs against the court’s ruling,” adding that Texans needed to stand as one against the “lawlessness” that was threatening the religious beliefs of Texans.
Of course, there were those who were hopeful that the SCOTUS ruling would allow them to get married so they could continue business as usual.
Texas governor Greg Abbott tweeted that “SCOTUS has become an unelected nine-member legislature” and added he would defend the religious rights of Texans against Texas gay marriage. The tweet has since been deleted.
While Louisiana continues to stand by its state’s right to follow along with its religious beliefs, Governor Bobby Jindal noted that the state would comply with the SCOTUS ruling as soon as the order to do so comes through the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. Jindal, a declared presidential candidate for 2016, said that it was his own religious convictions that pushed him towards telling government officials in his state to not feel pushed to comply with the ruling. He noted that he did not believe it was logical to compare the attitudes towards same-sex marriage to the interracial marriage issue of the 1950s and 1960s because “it’s offensive to equate evangelical Christians, Catholics, others that view marriage as between a man and a woman as being racist.”
The current pushback against the SCOTUS ruling has not deterred Texas gay marriage from proceeding; one government official has said that he plans on continuing to do his job. It seems regardless of the defiance of Texas leadership, Texas gay marriage will proceed as it should.
(Photo by Drew Anthony Smithr/Getty Images)