Southern states including Alabama, Mississippi and Texas are trying to find legal ways to avoid the Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage across the United States.
Christian News Network reports Mississippi is considering removing state marriage licenses entirely.
State House Judiciary Chairman Andy Gipson said, “One of the options that other states have looked at is removing the state marriage license requirement. We will be researching what options there are. I personally can see pros and cons to that. I don’t know if it would be better to have no marriage certificate sponsored by the state or not. But it’s an option out there to be considered.”
Neighboring Alabama has frozen all marriage licenses in part of the state. Christian Today reports three counties are denying all couples marriage licenses, arguing that the state’s code says judges “may” issue licenses but they do not have to.
Judge Fred Hamic said, “Section 30-1-9 of the Alabama Code of 1975 says a probate judge may issue a marriage license… It doesn’t say a probate judge has to issue a marriage license. I will not be doing any more ceremonies.”
Alabama Judge Wes Allen agreed.
“My office discontinued issuing marriage licenses in February, and I have no plans to put Pike County back into the marriage business,” he said.
In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton made a statement that county clerks who do not agree with same-sex marriage could refuse marriage licenses to gay couples.
According to Paxton, "County clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses.”
"Justices of the peace and judges similarly retain religious freedoms and may claim that the government cannot force them to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies over their religious objections.”
The Attorney General further stated that those who refuse to issue gay marriage licenses could be sued for discrimination, but ample legal support would be available to defend their religious beliefs.
Publication date: June 29, 2015