Today, in a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, effectively overruling gay marriage bans in Texas and a dozen other states. Texas pastors, however, who feel conscientious objections to performing same-sex marriages, cannot legally be forced to.
States where same-sex marriage was previously illegal include Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Nebraska.
According to the Houston Chronicle, “Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan were in the majority. Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Chief Justice Roberts dissented.”
In anticipation of the ruling, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued this news release:
“In Texas, the law of the land defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. This principle was adopted by over 76 percent of Texas voters in 2005. However, that definition could be struck down or altered by our nation’s highest court.
“If that should happen, county clerks and Justices of the Peace could be forced to subjugate their sincerely held religious beliefs. The practical reality of this conflict will occur throughout the state.
“This past session, the legislature passed protections for members of the clergy who could be pressured into performing marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“Similar First Amendment protections must be extended to others who might encounter similar pressure for same sex marriages.
“My request for opinion asks Attorney General Paxton to provide guidance to county clerks and Justices of the Peace who face this conflict of conscience.”
Lauren McGaughy, journalist for the Houston Chronicle, says that legal experts have informed them that the law Patrick is referencing, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, only applies to clergy.
What are your thoughts? Sound off below!