Austin television station KXAN sent a reporter to San Saba, west of Austin, to find out why a county clerk there is refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Apparently, the clerk originally said she didn’t have to do so because marriage for gay and lesbian couples violates her religious beliefs.
But once the reporter got to her office, the clerk’s office changed the reason:
“I don’t have the proper documentation. I don’t have the proper forms.”
Uh, yeah. Right.
Look, many counties across Texas made the necessary accommodations to issue licenses right after the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Constitution guarantees the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.
The blame for the delays in San Saba and other countries lies largely with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who issued a formal opinion on Sunday telling county clerks that they cause use their religious beliefs to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Magistrates and justices of the peace can likewise refuse to perform weddings for such couples, Paxton wrote.
So now public officials like the one in San Saba are, with encouragement from the state’s chief law enforcement official, refusing to serve taxpayers who pay their salaries.
But those officials know they’re doing something wrong. Watch the video report from KXAN here, in which the San Saba clerk pretends there are other reasons for not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She then threatens to have the county sheriff throw the reporter out of her office.
“We’re not giving any opinions to the tee-vee. … The sheriff’s down the hall here if you don’t get out of this office. … You’re buggin’ us. You’re buggin’ us. Please get out of here.”
We’re laying this outrageous arrogance and disregard of the law and the Constitution at your feet, Ken Paxton. You encouraged it. You got it.