The Texas Senate gave approval for a bill designed to allow county clerks to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples over religious objections. The bill would also permit judges to refuse to perform a marriage ceremony under the same sincerely-held religious objection. This goes against a national trend supporting such unions and in defiance of a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that ostensibly ended state bans on gay nuptials.
A final vote on the matter is scheduled next week when Senate Bill 522 will go to the House. This year’s session is packed with touchstone issues in the so-called “cultural wars” separating Democrats from Republicans, including a proposal to ban transgender individuals from using public bathrooms labeled with genders with which they identify.
As for SB 522, county clerks would be allowed to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples so long as there is a judge or assistant clerk in place who would be willing to issue the license. Another provision of the bill makes allowances for the absence of a willing assistant clerk or judge, providing for agreements to be made with officials at nearby counties able to electronically issue marriage licenses. Continue reading “Texas Senate Approves Bill Allowing County Clerks To Deny Same-Sex Marriage Licenses”