11 April 2017 at 4:05:26 PM
Here's the bill (Texas Lege Senate)
When you read this, substitute in your mind "black" or "asian" and see if you don't think that's unconstitutional. Imagine if everyone said they had a religious objection to this or that as a way to discriminate against others. If a clerk doesn't want to be in the business of issuing marriage certificates, he or she should go get a different job that doesn't require fealty to the US constitution.
Voting largely along party lines, the Texas Senate gave initial approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow county clerks to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples over religious objections to the practice.
A second and final vote will be needed before Senate Bill 522 can be sent on to the House. Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville was the only Democrat to vote in favor, joining all Senate Republicans in the 21-10 vote.
SB 522 would let county clerks refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as long as an assistant clerk or judge is willing to provide the service, said the author, Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury.
If a clerk and judge is not available, the bill would require county leaders to appoint an employee — or hire a contract worker — to provide marriage licenses to gay couples. If no local employee is available, counties could reach an agreement with nearby counties to provide the service electronically, Birdwell said.
Of course, since Birdwell is from Hood County, this is all about Katie Lang, county clerk of Hood County, who refused to issue a marriage licence to a same sex couple until she was sued. In August of 2015, Hood County agreed to give nearly $44,000 of taxpayer dollars to the LGBT attorneys.
I like what Sen Jose Menendez said, that SB 522 appears to violate the Constitution's guarantee of equal treatment under the law and ignores the 2015 SCOTUS hearing that requires same sex couples to be treated equally.
Today, TFN President Kathy Miller issued this statement after the Senate vote:
“The Senate under Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s leadership has clearly become the center of intolerance and discrimination in Texas government. … [The Senate] today said it has no problem with public officials picking and choosing which taxpayers they will serve. This bill opens the door to taxpayer-funded discrimination against virtually anyone who doesn’t meet a public official’s personal moral standards. That means same-sex couples, divorced people, women who have children outside of marriage and many others could be treated like second-class citizens by the very people whose salaries they pay with their tax dollars. That’s discrimination, not religious freedom.”
Miller noted there are 17 so-called “religious refusal” bills that have been filed in this legislative session.
Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas, issued this statement:
“Religious liberty is an organizing principle of American democracy and the birthright of every Texan. Our constitution and state laws already protect that right. Redefining religious liberty will allow people to take advantage and claim that their religion gives them the right to ignore existing laws or not perform the duties of their job. SB 522 promotes taxpayer-funded discrimination and would allow for unequal treatment under the law. In the end, this is not about religious liberty; it’s about discrimination. A clerk or government official should not be exempted from their duties simply because they do not share another person’s religious belief.”
But, ya know, bigots will be bigots. Republicans, as a party, seem to have a problem with being United States Citizens. And Brian Birdwell sure seems to want to prove that in a big way.
Tags: hood county katie lang brian birdwell SB522
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