TX Lawmaker Threatens Clerks To Avoid Marriage Equality

This is going to sound weird, but I love living in Texas. Maybe there are other places where I could be happier, but I do love it here. Maybe it’s because I was raised here. Perhaps ?it’s because I love Dallas and all of its restaurants. Maybe it’s because my only other state for comparison is Oklahoma. However, it’s hard to live here sometimes, and it’s those moments that are always seen by outsiders. Let’s add another to the list.

Behold the face of a man who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “quit.” Or “Supremacy Clause.” Or “Equality.” But he totally gets “Pushbroom Mustache.” Photo courtesy of The Texas Observer

Previously, when a federal judged based out of San Antonio struck down Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, Attorney General Greg Abbot (now Governor-Elect) raced forward to launch an appeal. On January 16, we reported that the Supreme Court had agreed to hear cases that could have the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage across the country. Presumably, seeing their dying efforts struggling to breathe, the Texas GOP is launching one (hopefully) final push to keep bigotry on the books.

Texas’ State Rep. Cecil Bell Jr. apparently had doubts about the appeal, and has therefore suggested a new strategy: threatening people. His plan is to threaten the pay and pensions of any clerk who heeds any federal mandate permitting same-sex marriage and is foolish enough to issue a license to LGBT people.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) reports:

This would effectively mean that state employees could be fired (or at least pressured to quit) simply for observing a federal court’s decision and respecting the rights of others. That a state would even entertain this idea is shocking.

And yet it gets worse. The legislation includes a provision that would force state courts to rule against anyone who challenges this bill, should it pass. Apparently, Bell and his supporters believe no one should have the right to question what they do ? a clear sign that some lawmakers have no interest in the democratic process.

The bill tries to justify the latter but fails to do so. It attempts to cite the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but it has the opposite effect, as the amendment allows an individual citizen to file a suit against the state failing to comply with federal mandates. Statements made by Bell himself seem to indicate that this is a case of “federal overreach,” but it’s easy to see that this is just bigotry, pure and simple. Instead of dealing with the fact that his heterosexist mindset is outdated and useless, he prefers to use county clerks as pawns, trapping them between the threats from their own state and the laws of their own country.

Now, I doubt this law will come to pass. It seems significantly more likely that it’s going to simply die out because the entire idea is unfeasible. However, it is a good indication of the absolutely ridiculous mindset Conservative lawmakers tend to adopt in states where they run?virtually unopposed. It’s also a great example of the many times that my state has made me feel stupid just for living here.


David Pham is a proud Gaytheist and Gaymer, and an Iraq Veteran who staunchly supports LGBT rights and the separation of church and state. When not reading or researching, he's usually found with his nose in his Kindle or Wii U Gamepad. He studies Psychology with the intent to provide therapy to Veterans and teach at the college level.