Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a
Republican, has sided with a judge who has refused to marry gay and
Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley of
Waco sued the Commission on Judicial Conduct after it issued her a
warning last year for refusing to marry gay couples and continuing to
marry opposite-sex couples.
In response to the 2015 Supreme Court
case that struck down state laws and constitutional amendments that
prohibited same-sex marriage, Paxton issued a nonbinding opinion in
which he argued that judges with religious objections could not be
forced to officiate the marriages of gay couples.
Paxton's office has said that it will
not defend the Commission on Judicial Conduct, leaving the state
agency to find outside representation, the
“We believe judges retain their right
to religious liberty when they take the bench,” a spokesman for the
attorney general's office said in a statement.
Last year, Paxton reiterated his
opinion on whether clerks and judges with religious objections could
refuse gay couples seeking to marry.
“There is a First Amendment right to
free exercise that is sort of standing alongside this newly-minted
right to same-sex marriage,” Paxton said during an appearance on
The Chris Salcedo Show. “The First Amendment doesn't go away
just because the Supreme Court created a new right.”