States Defy SCOTUS On Same-Sex Marriage

Photo: Eric Gay/AP Photo.
Marriage equality may be the law of the land, but at least some officials in Texas are determined to keep their opposition alive, and the state's top lawyer is giving them a hand.

This weekend, as couples streamed into courthouses nationwide, state Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a formal opinion maintaining that county clerks who didn't want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples are protected under Texas' religious-freedom law. According to the Austin Statesman, Paxton was responding to a request from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has also been an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage.

“Friday, the United States Supreme Court again ignored the text and spirit of the Constitution to manufacture a right that simply does not exist. In so doing, the court weakened itself and weakened the rule of law, but did nothing to weaken our resolve to protect religious liberty and return to democratic self-government in the face of judicial activists attempting to tell us how to live,” Paxton said in his statement.

Religious-freedom laws, and whether they provide a license to discriminate, have been at the center of battles over same-sex marriage throughout the year. Both Indiana and Arkansas passed such bills amid controversy and protests; Paxton stated that “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights.”

Texas was one of 13 states that still prohibited same-sex marriages before Friday's Supreme Court ruling. And, while officials in a few other states are also dragging their feet when it comes to complying with what is now settled law, Paxton's statement is the first serious act of resistance to progress.

Couples in Mississippi will have to wait a little bit longer before they can get legally married, thanks to a decision by that state's attorney general to wait until the 5th Circuit Court officially approves same-sex marriage. And, according to a report from Newsweek, the state might stop issuing all marriage licenses rather than give them to same-sex couples.

Of course, even in a state as conservative as Texas, there were plenty of counties that happily issued marriage licenses and played host to same-sex weddings over the weekend, with Jack Evans and George Harris becoming the first couple to get married in Dallas — after being together for 54 years.

More from Politics

1. ICYMI: Charlotte lifted its curfew after days of protests following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Scott, 43, was shot and killed last Tuesday...
"Wrong." "That makes me smart." "Why Not?" "Ugh." No, those aren't snippets of a conversation with a cranky 5-year-old. They're just a few of the ...
When Donald Trump attacked her suitabilty for office during Monday's debate, Hillary Clinton was ready with the comeback of the evening. Towards...
If the chaotic party politics of the 2016 election have left you feeling completely birdbrained, this video is for you. The Founding Fathers (presented ...
People are already having feelings about the presidential debate — and no one’s even had time to finish their wine yet. Twitter was gearing up for the ...
Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis: Hillary Clinton from Funny Or Die Update: Hillary Clinton's appearance on Between Two Ferns may have smashed ...
We're just hours away from the first presidential debate of the 2016 election. The 90-minute showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is ...
Election Day lasts just one day — a 24-hour culmination of the seemingly never-ending campaign season. But we’ll spend the next two, four, six years ...
We share the 12 questions we want to hear moderator Lester Holt ask Clinton and Trump tonight
Step aside, old-school political merch. We're way past bumper stickers and buttons. With the election just months away, people across the country are ...
1. Here At Home: Police arrested a suspect in connection with a shooting at a Washington state mall that left five people dead. The shooting took place...
We want to get something out the way. This is not "the most 2016 image ever." The most 2016 image ever is, like, Donald Trump being scared by a bird. But...
When thinking about the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opening this weekend, the first thing that comes ...
On Saturday, police arrested a 20-year-old suspect in connection with a shooting at a Washington state mall that left five people dead, reports The ...