Texas Bill Would Allow Clerks To Refuse To Issue Marriage Licenses To Gay Couples
The Texas Senate on Tuesday tentatively approved a bill that would allow county clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples based on their religious beliefs.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the bill cleared the chamber with a 21-10 vote.
Republican Senator Brian Birdwell authored Senate Bill 522. It would allow clerks to recuse themselves if another clerk or judge can step in and issue the marriage documents.
Birdwell said that the bill was needed to protect the religious liberty of county clerks, judges and others.
“If we don't do this, we are discriminating against people of faith,” Birdwell said. “This bill protects the constitutional issues for both sides.”
While the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in the 2015 case Obergefell, lawmakers in Texas were unable to address the issue because Texas' Republican-controlled Legislature only meets every two years.
Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, said in a statement that the bill “opens the door to taxpayer-funded discrimination against virtually anyone who doesn't meet a public official's personal moral standards.”
North Carolina Bill Would Reinstate Gay Marriage Ban
Four Republican lawmakers in North Carolina filed a bill Tuesday that seeks to restore the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
House Bill 780, titled Uphold Historical Marriage Act, directs the state to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Obergefell ruling, which found that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry, The Charlotte Observer reported. The bill states that the ruling is “null and void in the State of North Carolina” because it “exceeds the authority of the court relative to the decree of Almighty God that 'a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh' (Genesis 2:24, ESV) and abrogates the clear meaning and understanding of marriage in all societies throughout prior history.”
The bill directs the state to defy the high court and enforce Amendment One, the 2012 voter-approved constitutional amendment that limits marriage to heterosexual couples.
Sponsors of the bill include Representatives Larry Pittman, Michael Speciale, Carl Ford and Mike Clampitt.
Democratic Governor Roy Cooper called the bill “wrong.”
“We need more LGBT protections, not fewer,” Cooper tweeted.