A Kentucky county clerk is still refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of such unions and the high court’s refusal on Monday to protect her “right” to not do her job. So here’s what happened when a gay couple showed up in her office — again — to request a marriage license today:

As you can hear in this clip, the Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, declared that she was acting “under God’s authority” to refuse to issue the marriage license. Now a federal district judge has ordered Davis to appear in court and explain her refusal to obey a lawful court order. But religious-right groups continue to rally around her.

Religious-righters also encouraged a Texas county clerk to defy the courts on this issue — ultimately costing Texas taxpayers nearly $44,000. Will Kentucky taxpayers have to cover the legal costs caused by Davis and her supporters? We’ll see.… Read More

Days after the U.S.  Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples have the freedom to marry, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a formal opinion claiming that public officials could use their religious beliefs as an excuse for refusing to issue marriage licenses to or conduct weddings for same-sex couples. The Plano-based, religious-right group Liberty Institute also rushed forward with its lawyers to defend the “religious liberty” of public officials refusing to do their taxpayer-funded jobs.

All of those reckless efforts to subvert the Supreme Court’s ruling just cost taxpayers in Hood County southwest of Fort Worth nearly $44,000.

On Monday Hood County Commissioners agreed to pay the attorney fees — $43,872.10 — for a gay couple who sued after the county clerk, Katie Lang, repeatedly refused to issue them a marriage license. She claimed that issuing the license would offend her religious beliefs. Liberty Institute’s lawyers defended her and even used the case as a fundraising tool.

Now taxpayers in Hood County have to pay the penalty for such irresponsibility. They have Lang, Paxton and Liberty Institute to thank for that. Maybe someone should ask Liberty Institute to cover the cost with the money they raised off the case.… Read More

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s personal jihad against the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples is falling apart. Faced with a possible contempt charge from an angry federal judge, Paxton this week decided the state must acknowledge the legally married spouses of same-sex couples on both death and birth certificates.

Paxton’s office had advised Texas officials that it was unclear whether the state had to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples conducted before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans on such unions in June. That advice came despite an order by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia that Texas officials may not, in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, impose restrictions on the marriages of those couples.

Based on Paxton’s advice, the Department of State Health Services refused to change a death certificate to reflect that a deceased man was the legally married spouse of his surviving husband. Moreover, state officials were refusing to list the names of both legally married, same-sex parents on the birth certificates of their adopted children.

The failure to comply with Judge Garcia’s order (to essentially obey the U.S. Supreme Court) imposed unnecessary legal problems on the families of legally married same-sex couples. In the

The Houston Chronicle had an interesting article a week back comparing reactions to last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage and the high court’s 1967 ruling against bans on interracial marriage. In both cases, the article notes, opponents have used religion in criticizing the court’s decisions.

Indeed, supporters of racial segregation often used religion as a justification for their stance. The Chronicle quotes a lower court judge in Virginia who ruled in favor of that state’s interracial marriage ban in the case that later went to the Supreme Court:

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

The article also quotes Bob Jones, the extreme-right, segregationist evangelical preacher, from a radio broadcast in 1960:

“God Almighty did not make the human race one race. It was not His purpose at all…. God made one blood of all nations, but He also drew boundary lines between races. If you are against segregation and against racial separation, then you are against God almighty.”

The article notes that the preacher’s own Bob Jones University didn’t even permit interracial dating… Read More

There’s nothing equal about how some public officials are responding the U.S. Supreme Court’s freedom to marry ruling from a couple of weeks ago.

Sure, on its face, doing the same thing for everyone sure does sound equal. But in this case we’re talking about public officials who don’t want to do something for anyone, nevermind that the “something” is part of their officials duties and the job you, me and every other taxpayer is paying them to do.

Take, for instance, the Rowan County Clerk in Kentucky. She has decided that, no, she will not be issuing any marriage licenses to anyone if it means she also has to issue them to same-sex couples. She cited her religious views as the reason.

“You can go to our surrounding counties,” this couple was told by a staffer at the Rowan clerk’s office.

We’ve also heard of a couple of justices of the peace in Temple, Texas, who have taken a similar stance and are refusing to marry anyone rather than have to marry two men or two women.

Some politicians want to take the issue even further and make “no marriage licenses for anyone” the law of the… Read More