by P. David Gardner
In a not wholly unexpected move, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today issued a statement saying that state clerks can refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples based on their religious beliefs, which goes loggerheads against the SCOTUS ruling of just three days ago that legalizes gay marriage across the entire United States.
And, because Paxton fully expects that clerks will be sued, he assured clerks and anyone else who would listen that a cadre of lawyers will be standing by to defend them in court, fully funded so that clerks don't have to lay out a thin dime in their own legal defense.
Rumblings are occurring in some other states too. Minnesota is currently mulling over whether to stop issuing marriage licenses altogether, allowing no one to get married within their state's borders.
Both Missisippi and Louisiana are delaying implementing the law, saying that the new law had no clause that actually orders states to start issuing marriage licenses to gay people. This thinly veiled attempt at subterfuge will no doubt fall at the first court challenge, but it will only serve as a delay, which is probably the very best that Mississipi and Lousiana lawmakers are hoping for and can get.
What's more, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant claims that SCOTUS has "usurped" each state's "authority to regulate marriage within their borders," and promises to resist its implementation. Bryant is skating on thin ice indeed, claming that state law overrules federal law, and only time will tell if states who refuse to implement federal law will attempt to secede from the union.