Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas says lawyers are on standby, ready to defend any Texas State worker, free of charge, who refuses to grant a marriage license to same sex couples.
Patrick's comments come after he had reviewed a legal opinion on last week's Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage prepared by his conservative Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton
Paxton labeled the Supreme Court decision a “lawless ruling” saying it meant that any state administrator, justice of the peace or clerk who refuses to issue a marriage license to same sex couples could be prosecuted. He also said the ruling does not eliminate rights of religious liberty.
“This newly minted federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage can and should peaceably coexist with longstanding constitutional and statutory rights, including the rights to free exercise of religion and freedom of speech,” he wrote.
Paxton said the Supreme court “weakened the rule of law” and “fabricated a new constitutional right.”
Governor Abbott said Texans would not be forced to act against their religious beliefs.
“Despite the Supreme Court's rulings, Texans' fundamental right to religious liberty remains protected,” he said ordering that no one in the Government take “adverse action” against State workers acting on their religious beliefs in the grating of marriage licenses.
However a federal district court in Texas over the weekend prohibited Texas from enforcing state laws that define marriage as exclusively a union between one man and one woman.