Despite a decree from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that county clerks can refuse to grant same-sex marriage licenses on religious grounds, Denton County Clerk Juli Luke — who personally opposes gay nuptials — started granting licenses on Monday morning after originally declining to do so following Friday’s Supreme Court ruling.
“Personally, same-sex marriage is in contradiction to my faith and belief that marriage is between one man and one woman,” she said in a statement released on Sunday. “However, first and foremost, I took an oath on my family Bible to uphold the law and as an elected public official my personal belief cannot prevent me from issuing the licenses as required.”
Luke had previously declined two gay couples licenses on Friday, claiming that she needed legal guidance from Paxton before granting the licenses. She also later said that she was holding back due to a need to update computer software, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.
Laura Hernandez and Sara Nickell, a couple who claim they were denied a license in Denton County on Friday, appeared in a YouTube clip explaining what reportedly unfolded:
As TheBlaze previously reported, Luke made the eventual decision to offer licenses, despite Paxton’s Sunday declaration that county clerks in the state may refuse to grant same-sex marriage licenses on religious grounds.
“Friday, the United States Supreme Court again ignored the text and spirit of the Constitution to manufacture a right that simply does not exist,” Paxton said in a statement. “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.”
He continued, “County clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. The strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case.”
Paxton warned that clerks who refuse to grant same-sex marriage licenses may be sued or fined but that he will support such employees regardless. Read more about that here.
Front page image via Shutterstock.com.