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Gay marriage: TX Attorney General advises clerks they can refuse marriage lic. on religious grounds

 
 
DrewDad
 
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 09:35 am
http://www.statesman.com/news/news/texas-ag-county-clerks-can-refuse-gay-couples/nmnRZ/

Quote:
County clerks can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on religious objections to gay marriage, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Sunday.

Paxton noted that clerks who refuse to issue licenses can expect to be sued, but added that “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs,” in many cases without charge.

...

Advocates of gay marriage said Paxton’s directive amounted to government-sponsored discrimination. Austin lawyer Jody Scheske said Paxton’s opinion was legally and morally wrong.

“We settled the idea that public officials can pick which citizens to serve or not in the ’50s and ’60s civil rights litigation. They cannot,” Scheske said.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 25 • Views: 11,422 • Replies: 183

 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 09:37 am
@DrewDad,
I'm appalled. What a waste of time and money....

0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 09:39 am
@DrewDad,
The "Religious Freedom" layer of this is going to be the next big battleground. I expect to see a lot of it over the next few years.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 09:41 am
@rosborne979,
I can see an "establishment clause" fight on this
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 09:52 am
@rosborne979,
It's totally different here. I've often wondered ...
... if a 16-year old girl gets a child from a father, who is married to someone else - could a birth certificate be refused because of the religious belief of a clerk?
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 10:01 am
@Walter Hinteler,
I see this as, "we won't send you to jail over this, and we hope you're willing to be sued into oblivion."

And just as the LGBT movement is needing a new fight to rally around.

0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 10:13 am
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

I can see an "establishment clause" fight on this

Yes. This one is going to be much trickier to argue.

There is obviously a limit to religious freedom already, but it's way out in the "obvious" category. For example, if your religion involves having you murder random neighbors it would not be tolerated even under the auspices of "religious freedom". But finding where that line is actually drawn is going to be much harder to nail down.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 10:18 am
They have been planning for this day in Texas a long time. We have near universal idiots running Texas government.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 10:45 am
Is it okay in Texas for a business to allow their employees to discriminate against whomever they please?

For instance -- If I owned a store and I hired a Mormon person to work there would it be okay if they refused to sell coffee or tea because they believe God commanded people to not use it?

Would the store have to put up a sign reading "no coffee or tea sold in this lane" when that cashier was working?

I've worked in Texas and can't imagine any employer that I ever had allowing me to discriminate against people based on my own personal beliefs.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 10:49 am
@DrewDad,
This is just a footnote.

The battle has been won. The legal change is following a societal change. There will be a little murmuring like this, and then as a society we will move on.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 10:50 am
@boomerang,
Here (in Germany) the civil registration office of any municipalty is responsible for recording births, marriages and deaths. And the civil servants have to do it, whatever they privately might belief. (And that office is the only place where Germans can enter into a legal marriage, get birth and death certificates.)
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 02:00 pm
@maxdancona,
That's a good point. You may be right. Time will tell.
RABEL222
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 02:05 pm
@rosborne979,
Maybe someone in federal government will grow some balls and pull a Dwight Eisenhower and throw this asshole into a federal prison until he follows the law.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 02:50 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
That's kinda my point.

Why would a government employee get to decide who to serve and not serve based on their own religious belief?

No other business I know of gets away with that.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  5  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 03:08 pm
I thought this was a well-written argument a friend on Facebook wrote:

Quote:

I say this with sincere love to my many friends who are passionate fundamentalist Christians who believe that the SCOTUS’s decision yesterday on marriage equality is an abomination to themselves and to God: As a lawyer, I need to attempt to set the record straight.

Our country was created by our founding fathers very deliberately to prevent the establishment of a national religion from our governance. The Church - Catholic or Anglican - was central to almost every other country in the world historically, especially England from which our founding fathers separated. It was critical to our founding fathers that one central religion NOT be declared and NOT be incorporated into our Constitution or governance. They understood that an establishment of a national religion would ultimately abridge the very rights they believed were fundamental and were meant to be recognized and protected by the Bill of Rights and ultimately the Constitution.

Religion-based loss of basic rights had been their experience in England and they wanted to prevent that here.

The fact is that this decision yesterday was a LEGAL decision about the scope of our Constitutional rights as humans and US citizens. It was not about religion, religious beliefs or religious freedom. It is about equal rights, just as the decision in this country to give women the vote and the decision to abolish slavery were about equal rights. Any decision regarding the scope of a constitutional right (whether passed by Congress or interpreted by the SCOTUS) is a legal decision, not one based in religion or morality.

Rights are not and should not be up for a popular vote or up to the states to determine. Rights are absolute and cannot be dependent upon anything other than the fact that the person is a human being and is a citizen of the US. If those two conditions are met, YOUR belief system about what is MORALLY or spiritually right or wrong does not matter and should not. You should be glad that is the case, because it would be just as easy for another religion to take over and curtail your rights as a Christian (something that has happened throughout history).

In fact, one religious party believing they know the truth for all humans is how terrible oppression starts - that is how Naziism started, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, the Klu Klux Klan, Al-Qaeda and now ISIS - the most destructive, hateful, murderous periods of human history have arisen directly out of one religious group (ironically, most of these examples were lead by Christians) believing their religion and religious beliefs were THE truth, and therefore they had the right to take away the rights (and lives) of those who lived or believed differently than them.

Our founding fathers wanted to prevent that outcome. So does our current Supreme Court. THAT is the law of the land and I could not be more grateful to be an American than when human rights are protected. I don’t have to agree with you to believe with all my heart and soul that YOUR rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should be protected against oppression or prejudice. LGBT US citizens deserve exactly the same treatment. God Bless America.

p.s. Those railing against the decision of marriage equality as a basic constitutional right are confusing the idea of constitutional (i.e human) rights with certain types of behavior (the stuff they call "sin"). But human rights are inherent in all human beings and US citizens - not doled out based on who is behaving "well" and who isn't. All US citizens should have the equal right to pursue life, liberty and happiness, regardless of the "sins" they commit. The only behavior that should curtail your constitutional rights is if you commit a crime (a felony) and are convicted. But even then, criminals can still marry, have kids, own property, work and live in our communities. The only things they can't do is vote and carry firearms. If committing a sin was a barrier to receiving basic constitutional rights in this country, we would all be in big trouble, not just the LGBT community.
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  13  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 05:36 pm
County clerks in Texas are elected officials (not employees) who must take an oath of office to faithfully execute the duties of their office and to protect and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States. The county government serves as an agent of the State. County clerks are entrusted with the official duty to issue marriage licenses. If a county clerk has a religious objection to complying with his/her oath and faithfully executing the duties of his/her office, then that county clerk should resign. The Texas Attorney General does not have any authority to advise the county clerks that they may shirk their official duties and discriminate against gay and lesbian citizens in their official capacities as agents of the state.

It is mindboggling how the religious folk claim, if they are not allowed to impose their views on everyone else in society and discriminate against and persecute people whom they deem sinners, then they themselves are being discriminated against and persecuted. I don't sympathize with their alleged victimhood.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 07:39 pm
@Debra Law,
That was rather well said.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  3  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 08:39 pm
@Debra Law,
Long time no see Debra.

Good point also.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 10:08 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

This is just a footnote.

The battle has been won. The legal change is following a societal change. There will be a little murmuring like this, and then as a society we will move on.

I agree completely. That's why I think it's a complete waste of time and effort.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2015 10:15 pm
For homosexual marriage, this was not the end of the struggle, it was the beginning of a new phase . Of course government employees dont have the right to refuse to carry out their work, but that is only a temporary setback and after some time there will be government employees in those positions who will cheerfully carry out those tasks .

The real problem is intrinsic to the term marriage . That could have been avoided by a different name ....as it is now, this will never be fully settled . Recognition of every other countries' marriages has been smooth sailing till now but many countries are going to not recognise marriages in countries with homosexual marriage . That will be an interesting phase .
 

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