scales of justice and gavel in front of texas state flag
Should a Justice of the Peace be able to legally refuse to perform same-sex marriages?

In an 8-1 decision, Texas’ highest court has ruled in favor of an official who was in front of the court defending her steadfast refusal to perform same-sex marriages.

Though officiating marriages is part of her official duties as Justice of the Peace, Dianne Hensley argued that performing such ceremonies violated her Christian belief that marriage is only between man and woman. 

When the State Commission on Judicial Conduct warned her against taking this position, Hensley decided to take them to court. 

The case joins a growing number of recent rulings that have favored religious freedom over the rights of the LGBTQ+ community – leaving many civil rights advocates feeling apprehensive about the future.

Justice or Not?

The Texas Supreme Court ruled that Hensley, representing the Waco area in McLennan County, can move ahead with the lawsuit after the state office warned that she could face consequences for discriminating against same-sex couples. 

Originally elected in 2014, Hensley stopped performing weddings altogether in 2015 after the landmark Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges legalized gay marriage across the country.

She eventually started performing weddings again, but only for heterosexual couples. That decision prompted remarks from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, who warned her that her refusal to perform same-sex marriages – especially while still performing straight marriages – “[cast] doubt on her capacity to act impartially to persons appearing before her as a judge due to the person’s sexual orientation.”

Hensley sued, arguing the warning violated her First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Though lower courts agreed with the initial ruling, arguing that whether she likes it or not, performing same-sex marriages is part of her job duties, the Texas Supreme Court ultimately sided with Hensley. 

Their reasoning? Couples could always just go to another justice of the peace. 

"Imagine a couple in that situation trying to coerce the courteous and helpful Christian judge to violate her convictions for their convenience, when other local officiants are happy to accommodate," wrote Justice Jimmy Blacklock. "What purpose could that possibly serve—other than to prove that adherents to the old orthodoxy will be made to bend the knee to the new one?"

Advocates of same-sex marriage, however, argued that especially in small, rural communities – where clergy often refuse to solemnize same-sex marriages – getting a judge or justice of the peace to perform a wedding is sometimes the only legal option for LGBTQ+ couples to tie the knot. 

And what if every public official they talk to is of a similar mind to Dianne Hensley? 

The Return of Kim Davis

The ruling has set off alarm bells for LGBTQ+ rights advocates. In their minds, it marks yet another sign that same-sex marriage protections are under threat. Could they be right?

Attorneys for embattled former Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis announced that they plan to appeal to the Supreme Court after a judge ruled in January that Davis has to pay some $260,000 in attorney fees to the original couple whose marriage license she denied.

Davis famously refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples after the legalization of same-sex marriage – a decision that led to her arrest, ouster from public office, and national notoriety.

Now, Davis’ lawyers hope this version of the Supreme Court – which has shown more sympathy for conservative religious beliefs than past ones – may rule in her favor.

Will Same-Sex Marriage Be Overturned?

There’s growing anxiety amongst the LGBTQ+ community that, in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s reversal, same-sex marriage itself could be next on the chopping block. 

Adding to those concerns are comments made by the Justices themselves.

In the ruling to overturn Roe, Justice Clarence Thomas penned a concurring opinion that appeared to challenge the constitutionality of the Obergefell ruling. “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” Thomas wrote. 

Then, in recent leaked audio, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito can be heard agreeing that the United States should return to “a place of godliness."

Taken all together, these developments pose some pressing questions:

Could marriage equality face a real legal challenge in the coming years, or are those fears overblown?

When it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, particularly at the altar, are we moving backwards?

110 comments

  1. Chris's Avatar Chris

    She is in a secular position. Religion has nothing to do with it. If her religion is so important she needs to get a job where she can follow her beliefs. Until then, she's nothing but a bigot using religion to discriminate. I'd hazard a guess she doesn't follow most of the actual tenets of her "beliefs" in the first place.

    1. Rev Deborah Dunkle (Raven Wolf Song)'s Avatar Rev Deborah Dunkle (Raven Wolf Song)

      They can contact me I’d be glad to perform same sex marriages.

    2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      WRONG! The 1st Amendment clearly states that you CANNOT make a law that requires a person to violate their religious beliefs. Now if the SSC wants to get a marriage license they absolutely can, they just cannot force her to issue it. No matter what anyone says or claims the law is clear. As such the judge cannot fine her nor force her to comply if it violates her 1st Amendment rights and if this makes some people upset...tough too bad.

      1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

        what about if her religion says miscegenation is wrong and so she refuses to issue a license to a mixed race couple?

        how about if she refuses to issue a license to a elderly couple who want to get married but clearly are too old to have children. she could refuse to issue the license since marriage is specifically to procreate according to here strongly held religious beliefs

        for the love of DOG all she is being asked to do is officiate a wedding according to state law/statutes. what will happen if government functionaries everywhere decide they will not perform their duties because it "violates" their religious beliefs?

        all I can say is, the worm turns and don't come back crying and whining when this whole kkkris chin nationalist, dominionist, kkkristofascist backfires, and it will, and the rule of law finally puts you all back in your caves where you belong.

        the revolution is coming, it won't be broadcast on tv, but it is indeed coming

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          Are you really that ignorant Father JJ? The law says religion and NO recognized religion says you cannot marry a person from another race. Quite a few religions say no same sex marriages. MAJOR difference. And the ONLY way to "turn the worm" as you claim is with a constitutional amendment either modifying the 1st Amendment or removing it all together. And that is never going to happen so your fantasy isnt going to happen either so your "revolution" is never going to happen in your lifetime nor your great grand childrens lifetime so why worry about it.

          1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

            Daniel, I've had people tell me the Bible outlaws mixing races. If you don't think racists have used the Bible to justify their actions, you're the ignorant one.

          2. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

            Look up Pastor Donny Reagan of the Happy Valley Church of Jesus Christ in TN. That was just ten years ago. The KKK is all Christians. Most white supremacists are Christian. That means that somewhere out there are legally established Christian denominations that say you can't marry a person from another race, and they justify it by their own interpretation of the Bible (look up the Curse of Ham). People can rationalize ANYTHING they want into their religion, and they do that often.

      2. Robert James Ruhnke's Avatar Robert James Ruhnke

        Then she needs to find someone who can, OR, find another job. Stop pushing your incomplete understanding of the constitution, Gray. She has no right to push her religion onto anyone.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          My understanding of the Constitution is far better then yours Ruhnke always I base it on ESTABLISHED Supreme Court rulings and what it says. Or are you now going to tell me and everyone else that the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Flower arranger, the Cake maker, the Michigan farmers market and the maine school decisions are all wrong because YOU say they are and it goes against what you believe?

          Hows about you actually do something that is completely foreign to you. Hows about you read what the SCOTUS and the Constitution say about this and then come back and apologize to everyone for your lack of understanding of what the Constitution and the highest court in the land actually says and not what you want them to say

          1. Rev Big Al's Avatar Rev Big Al

            I agree with Daniel. Just find some one else to marry you what is the big deal.

            1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

              The big deal is that you might not be able to find someone else. The government is supposed to be there to serve all of it's people, not just the ones who practice their same religion.

          2. Nathaniel Robert Hunt's Avatar Nathaniel Robert Hunt

            I will preform gay weddings since my religion has no issues with it, and it's my protected religious right as clergy in my faith to do it

        2. Carl Henry Hauschulz's Avatar Carl Henry Hauschulz

          So your lgbtq beliefs are ok to push aside her beliefs? Quakers served in the armed forces, but not to fight. Clerical, administrative and medical services by them were ok though...

          1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

            No one chooses to be LGBTQ, they are born that way. We have decades of data to prove that it's a biological imperative and not a social choice. No one is born Christian or Muslim or any religion; that is something taught to them.

      3. Tecla Caryl Loup's Avatar Tecla Caryl Loup

        So she shouldn't be able to proclaim tax exempt status on the fee(s) she might claim.

      4. Alisha Michelle Edwards's Avatar Alisha Michelle Edwards

        I agree 100% Most people have never even read the entire Constitution! I am quite sure there are others in that building whom could have issued the license.

      5. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

        The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."

        How does issuing a same-sex couple a marriage license violate her religions beliefs, first of all. Where in the Bible does it say that issuing a marriage license to a same-sex couple is a sin? How does having to issue a license prevent her from freely exercising her religion?

        Secondly, if a public official is using their religion to deny a right to another citizen, they are using their state given power to impose their own religious beliefs upon someone else.

        This is by no means a surprising decision by a very conservative and Christian friendly supreme court in Texas but boy is it disheartening to see that our government is giving more and more rights and powers to religious zealots while stripping the rights of those who share different beliefs.

        1. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

          She is including in her religious beliefs the belief that it is her duty to force other people to follow her religious beliefs. And she is cherry-picking implications--she is seeing her issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples as aiding/abetting what she considers sinful, but she is not seeing collecting a paycheck from an institution that issues marriage licenses to same sex couples as sinful, because that would interfere with her getting money. It's all about how to put a spin on things for her own convenience and her own spiteful satisfaction in throwing her religious weight around.

  1. Elizabeth Jane Erbe Wilcox's Avatar Elizabeth Jane Erbe Wilcox

    a persons religion should not be used to discriminate. Your religion is a choice. Being a member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community is not.

  1. Rev Deborah Dunkle (Raven Wolf Song)'s Avatar Rev Deborah Dunkle (Raven Wolf Song)

    Sounds like a bigot hiding behind a smoke screen of Christian belief dispite the Messiah teaching tolerance and love. Her misguided belief hangs upon Leviticus. What people ignore is Leviticus is about Judaic law and what was acceptable in Bronze Age Israel.

    1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

      So what God has declared to be sin, as outlined in the judeo-christian scriptures, is subject to the cultural foibles and predilections of man from century to century?

      1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

        So far, there is no evidence that God declared anything. All those declarations were made by human beings. You make similar declarations all the time. But it is not God; it is you who make those declarations!

      2. Joe R Day's Avatar Joe R Day

        "So, what God has declared to be sin." I am unaware that God The Almighty has ever said anything. The last 'reported' instance was Moses on Mt Sinai when the 10 commandments were given to humans. There was no one else with Moses when this happened and to say "God has declared" anything is a giant leap of faith. To assume there is an Omnipotent, Omniscient entity that watches over his 'flock' is a Leap of Faith that many do not share. To blatantly state that 'God' has declared anything is incorrect and unprovable.

      3. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

        It certainly seems to be. When was the last time we saw a news article about someone in a fish market refusing to sell shellfish, or someone working in a BBQ restaurant refusing to serve pork, or someone working in a department store refusing to sell mixed-fiber fabrics? Does anyone ever do those things? Do we hear anyone condemning people for doing those things? In fact, why do Christians eat pork at all? Why have Christians decided that it's okay to work on the Sabbath and completely ignore it, having declared Sunday their holy day instead of the one originally declared by scripture? ALL of those things are declared as sinful, as outlined in the Judeo-Christian scriptures. All of them. But clearly something has changed due to the cultural predilections of man from century to century. Cherry-picking is something that humans do for their own satisfaction and it is very telling of someone's nature when they only sins they condemn are those they themselves are uninterested in committing.

    2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      And you sound like a moron who does not seem to understand the US Constitution actually protects her right to do this no matter if you like it or not. Would be the same thing if they forced you to accept and comply with another religion or no religion.

      1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

        @Daniel Gray you have a complete lack of understanding of Constitution of the United States. You like so many Christians THINK they understand but in reality just take bits and pieces out of context to think you have proven your point. Much like with Christians do when the read the Bible.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          My understanding of the Constitution is based on what it actually says, not what you wish it said. If you think she cant do this then please show where in the Constitution it says she must do this. I wont hold my breath waiting

          1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

            Daniel Gray - Your understanding of the constitution like the Bible is incorrect.

  1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

    There's no hate like Christian / Catholic "love". This is a SECULAR nation. And the LGBTQI+ individuals are NOT asking for "special treatment" unlike what the hate-filled bigots keep trying to claim. All they're asking for is the SAME rights that everyone else get.

    1. Reverend Andrew's Avatar Reverend Andrew

      as TX2 Says there is no Love like christian Hate.

  1. Gary Leu's Avatar Gary Leu

    Ethical and professional conduct requires that people perform their jobs for the benefit of the people they serve. One’s personal opinions do not take priority over their professional duties and conduct. If you work for the government you are a public servant. To put your personal opinions and beliefs above your professional conduct is ethically wrong and is the height of egocentrism. They are their to represent their profession not to impose their religious choices onto others.

    Let’s say a person is hired as a DJ for parties but has religious objections to dancing. So, the DJ demands that nobody dance when they are performing.

    Consider a police officer who refuses to arrest a husband for brutally beating his wife because his religion believes that women should be subject to their husbands. A wife is a husband’s property and he may do whatever he wants to her.

    To support their religious beliefs, the DJ and the police officer should be fired so that may be free to find jobs that conform to their beliefs.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    We are all equal in God's eye's Another case of discrimination As per usual.

  1. Merlin's Avatar Merlin

    How does the minority control the majority? Fear and chaos. It’s a proven tactic until it don’t. All revolutions were initiated by fear. Remember, evil loves fear and chaos.

  1. Bishop William Dusenberry, DD's Avatar Bishop William Dusenberry, DD

    Public officials, unable to fulfill their obligations to anyone qualified to receive the necessary service, that such public official is obligated to give, should be fired, after she was duly convicted of refusing to do what she was required to do, in the performance of her duties.

    As a ULC minister, and now recently a recipient of both chaplaincy and missionary recognition, I’ve come out of retirement and am now planning to apply to be an advisor with the Tulsa County Oklahoma public schools, if and when Oklahoma begins hiring chaplains (for which, thanks to the ULC ministries) and am well prepared to council anyone, about anything— thanks be to nature and science. Starting salary, $50,000 range, and up.

    1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

      Excellent, your Excellency. I have all the confidence in the world that you will be an amaze-balls chaplain and teach/guide/minister/administer to them thar younguns down oklahoma way. Dog knows their edjewkashun sistim kant b eny mor worser then it alreddy iz and you wood b a breth o fresh air. teech em up a bunch o siance wille you thar peas b witchu

    2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Yet again you make a claim to a title you do not have. And in the McGirt decision by the SCOTUS, the five civilized nations (all native american nations) are their own separate laws unto themselves. and they own over 50% of Oklahoma so they dont have to listen to any state official who thinks they are they state superintendent. And as a member of the Cherokee nation, I can safely assure you that they will have nothing to do with you or your "progressive" beliefs so you dont even need to try and apply. And considering Tulsa and Broken Arrow are now listed as being on the Cherokee owned land in Oklahoma, your chances of getting hired are 0%

  1. Larry Mager's Avatar Larry Mager

    Our country was never a Godly country, no matter what anyone believes. While I think the Supreme Court of the Land should stay out of our business, I DO think that going somewhere else to tie the knot might be a good idea, THEN sue the State "supreme" court. For a party who believes in states' rights, they sure are sticking their noses where they don't belong. I'd be just as happy if the Federal govt. pulled all of their offices like NASA, OUT of Texas and boot them out of the union. Let them be their OWN country again. That is just my own opinion, however.

    1. James Mounts's Avatar James Mounts

      **Larry Mager. After reading that you know the truth about all the "fake" Christians in U.S. history, why was I not surprised that your grasp of law was equally as poor. To believe all those "fake Christians" on the Texas Supreme Court would grant you standing to sue it you are in Cloud Coocoo Land.

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    Haters hiding behind a collar. It's time for Christians to be declared a hate group and pull them out of legal proceedings.

    1. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

      Not all Christians are like that. There are plenty of Christian Justices of the Peace who perform same-sex marriages because they are following the teachings of Jesus rather than cherry-picking ancient Judaic laws. There are lots of Christians who actually do practice kindness and love for their neighbor, for strangers, and for everyone. They just don't make the news because they're not hurting anyone, like these belligerent ones are.

  1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

    I guess this makes things a little easier to discriminate against anyone you wish. All you need to do is say helping this person is against my religion. What’s next… an emergency room doctor says this person has AIDS so, their lifestyle is against my faith, and I don’t have to treat them. This couple is gay, so I don’t have to serve them in my restaurant. That person is gay, so I refuse to employee them.

    This cannot continue. Next we will have whites only water fountains and lunch counters. These are human beings.

  1. Bishop William Dusenberry, DD's Avatar Bishop William Dusenberry, DD

    Public officials, unable to fulfill their obligations to anyone qualified to receive the necessary service, that such public official is obligated to give, should be fired, after she was duly convicted of refusing to do what she was required to do, in the performance of her duties.

    As a ULC minister, and now recently a recipient of both chaplaincy and missionary recognition, I’ve come out of retirement and am now planning to apply to be an advisor with the Tulsa County Oklahoma public schools, if and when Oklahoma begins hiring chaplains (for which, thanks to the ULC ministries) and am well prepared to council anyone, about anything— thanks be to nature and science. Starting salary, $50,000 range, and up.

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      And they cant. You are way too delusional claiming something you are not and seemingly ignoring that according to the McGirt decision by the Supremes over half of Oklahoma belongs to the Five Civilized Nations (Native Americans) and since they are their own Governments, they dont have to listen to you or to the Oklahoma State School Superintendent. meaning you wont get hired.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    This is all part of Project 2025 and the Wedge Strategy from the Design Institute.

  1. Jannetje Eleanore Van Went's Avatar Jannetje Eleanore Van Went

    This always boggles my mind, the reason Nunes in Christen and Catholic faith take an oath of celibacy is to be married to their god right...then the celibacy of an advisor of this faith is being married to an order or a god...this species has claimed man as a god through men's design...then the Christian and Catholic faith is a same sex marriage of the entire serving position of the faith.

    I never understood why they say they don't accept LGBTQ2 but yet they are same sex married to a male god, live only with men and consider themselves content in the love of a faith they share intimately with a commune of only men...

    Please someone explain.

    Is it to use people for conflict and wars?! Because that is what is happening here.

    1. Bond Wright's Avatar Bond Wright

      Brigit: Right on!

  1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

    The United States is a SECULAR nation,not a Christian Nation, not a Catholic Nation, not a religious nation of any kind. It's a SECULAR nation.

    Unfortunately, the religious zealots are absolutely determined to turn the united states into a strict theocratic dictatorship like what exists in Afghanistan. And they want it to be just as cruel and brutal as well.

    1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

      The United States should be a culturally Christian nation in order to preserve our culture and nation. Your concerns, Bridget, are out of proportion and are not reality. You might be concerned as Islam grows in America, witness the changes taking place in Hamtramck, but not Christianity.

      1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

        ROFL No, Russel, our nation should never be, and will never be, "Christian". Not culturally, or literally. My concerns are most certainly based in reality and are not "Blown out of proportion." And yeah, I'm talking about Christianity here. As the old phrase "There's no "love" like Christian "hate". It simply means that they claim that their religion "loves everyone", but at the same time, actively, violently, try to force everyone to conform to their religion.

        You can scream about Islam all you want and how the USA is not like the Middle East, and no my concern is NOT about "Islam gaining a foothold in the USA". My concern is die-hard Christians and Catholics trying to turn a nation where people are supposed to be allowed to worship freely, into a strict religious theocracy.

        They scream "No Sharia Law!" while, at the same time, trying to enforce a brutal Christian version of that exact same doctrine upon the USA.

        Consider the following:

        Book Bans - where ALL books that feature ANYTHING that the Christians dislike are immediately called "pornographic", "satanic", "indoctrinating", and "inappropriate". Even something as harmless as a kid's book about a little boy who likes to wear an orange dress and play pretend, or another book of a little boy who wants to dance in the ballet. Neither of those are "porn" and yet they are wildly decried and burned.

        Books about someone who's gender fluid, or who's protagonist is LGBTQ+ is, somehow, "evil" simply for existing.

        Books like the Harry Potter series burned and banned for being "Satanic".

        Then there's the wildly violent attacks on LGBTQ+ people. MOST individuals who've been advocating for violence against them, and against people who support them, use "god" as their reasoning and claim that they are "good christians".

        Then there's the laws deliberately ripping bodily autonomy away from women. There is NO medical, or scientific, reason for these laws. Only the fact of using "Christianity" and the "Christian bible" for their excuse. Laws that even make it illegal for doctors to treat women that are severely hemorrhaging after a miscarriage. The whole "No Exceptions" thing.

        Now there is a major push to restrict women's rights further, for the "name of God" and trying to do things like making it illegal for women to divorce their husbands without husband permission. All because it's "in the bible."

        Yeah, My concerns are 100% founded in reality. Everything I've stated is fact. The christian zealots are absolutely determined to turn the USA into a Theocracy every bit as brutal, and as blood-thirsty, as the terrorist religious groups in the middle east.

  1. Rev. Carol M Anaski-Figurski's Avatar Rev. Carol M Anaski-Figurski

    My opinion too on Kim Davis. She should have got her supervisor to issue the marriage license to that couple.

    1. Reverend Andrew's Avatar Reverend Andrew

      She was the supervisor . She would not even let her staff issue the marriage license .

      1. Clay Serenbetz's Avatar Clay Serenbetz

        The Kim Davis case established a precedent for the USA. The Texas Court is trying to get the new Conservative Court to overturn its decision after only 9 years. Sadly, the Texas Court may succeed given the new right-wing majority. To reiterate the ACLU's position: "When you do a job on behalf of the government — as an employee or a contractor — there is no license to discriminate or turn people away because they do not meet religious criteria. Our government could not function if everyone doing the government's business got to pick their own rules.”

        1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

          Well said.

      2. Rev. Mike Eggleston's Avatar Rev. Mike Eggleston

        If she's not willing to do the job she's paid for, she should resign and make way for someone who is.

      3. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

        That is the crux of the entire problem. As the elected County Clerk Recorder, there was no one higher up in the county that could issues a marriage license, and she denied having a facsimile of her signature applied to those marriage licenses. When pressed, she stop issuing any marriage licenses whatsoever in Rowan County, Kentucky. Then the hetero couples were up in arms too! At that point, she violated her oath of office and the civil rights of all persons who came to that office for service. She was warned by the President, the Vice President, the Governor of Kentucky, the Attorney General of Kentucky, the Attorney General of Rowan County and others, that she was violating her oath of office, the law and an order by the Federal District Judge. She spent an appropriate week in jail, and then changed her mind willingly.

  1. Reverend Andrew's Avatar Reverend Andrew

    So let me ask this ! Can a Dr. now refuse to care for a LGBTQ+ Person because their faith says they can't

    1. Tecla Caryl Loup's Avatar Tecla Caryl Loup

      Sure, you can. But how does this affect your tax status? And your following the precepts of your Holy Person? I am not necessarily a follower of Jesus, but according to the texts that we have regarding his teachings, he had some pretty good ideas, like loving and doing for others.

    2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      yes they can the only exception to this rule is if they are an emergency room doctor and they are the only ones on duty at the time.

      1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

        So much for the Hippocratic Oath then... "I shall do by my patients as I would be done by; shall obtain consultation whenever I or they desire; shall include them to the extent they wish in all important decisions; and shall minimize suffering whenever a cure cannot be obtained, understanding that a dignified death is an important goal in everyone's life."

        1. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

          I can see them arguing that their obligation to their god overrules any oaths they take to anyone or anything else, but then that leaves out the issue of why they bothered to take a false oath to begin with. Nevermind the fact that allowing someone to suffer because your religious rules forbid them to do something is pretty evil and absolutely the opposite of loving your neighbor or reaching out to show the kindness of your faith. It's pretty clear that if someone does take that exception, they are only a doctor for the money and they are only a Christian for the image.

    3. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

      One's reputation is one the line. Yelp! is a good incentiviser!

  1. Donna K Fransen's Avatar Donna K Fransen

    I would like to see what the rules are for being a justice of the peace in Texas before I decide. I will say, in my personal opinion, if this person cannot fulfill her/his duties as a justice because they want to discriminate due to religion, then said person needs to step aside and let someone else do the job. Next thing you know, the justice will say I don't want to marry a black to a white, or some other such nonsense. Companies are starting to have second thoughts about locating in Texas due to their recent laws against both women and the LGBQT community. Send this couple to New Orleans, I'll be more than happy to do their marriage ceremony.

  1. Rev. Carol M Anaski-Figurski's Avatar Rev. Carol M Anaski-Figurski

    It's okay I agree, that couple could go to another wedding officiant. I can perform same sex marriages for LGBT. It's better for LGBT to get married to their partner, in the eyes of God then live in sin without marriage.

    1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

      Christ died for your sins. There is no more sin, or he was brutally executed for no reason.

      1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

        That of course is a man made fallacy, but thank you for your comment.

        🦁❤️

        1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

          Are you saying Christ didn't die for your sins?

          1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

            What evidence is there that Christ even existed? Let alone evidence that he died for our sins as the son of God.

    2. Tecla Caryl Loup's Avatar Tecla Caryl Loup

      Marriage is a legal contract regarding ownership and has nothing to do with affection, et al. Of course it is a great idea when one is in love. But the legal aspects are supremely important. So one should not enter into such a relationship unless one is clear about what's whose. You can proclaim your love for someone until the cows come home, but if lit ends, it's about the division of wealth.

      1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

        Marriage is the act of changing one's inheritance rights from one's family to the other partner in the marriage. It has absolutely nothing to do with religion! How do I know that is true? Atheists get married all the time.

  1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

    And the fallout from trans and queer activists continues. This isn't really a decision on gay marriage, it's a decision to pull the wind from the progressive sails that threaten our country. How far will it go? Considering how odious the activities of the trans and queer communities are, perhaps very far indeed.

    1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

      We’ve been fighting this for hundreds of years and we will fight it again. They can try to make LGB and yes, TQ people disappear but it is never going to work. We are human beings. When they take away the freedoms from one group of people, they won’t stop there. Soon they’ll be coming for another group of people they don’t like.

      1. David William Stewart's Avatar David William Stewart

        They are just look at the Catholic Church. All conservatives are under attack by the Pope and the FBI. Look at the Fall of the Church of England. These Churches have lost their way due to man's Doctrines. The Pope thinks he is God on earth. Before long the entire Bible will be under attack, and it is. Many WOKE Clergy want to rewrite a new Bible and they have started it.

        Love in Jesus Crist to all of you. Pastor David Stewart

        1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

          First, the Catholic Church believe the Pope speaks for God, and that he is the Vicar of Jesus Christ. They believe the Pope has taken up the mantle of the Apostle Peter. Second, Christians and conservatives are not under attack. They are in fact the ones attacking people they don’t believe are worthy. They are the ones who keep bring up how bad LGBTQ people are, and that we are after children. It’s the same thing they’ve been doing since I can remember. It wasn’t true then and it is not true now.

          1. David William Stewart's Avatar David William Stewart

            And your point is that Conserves are attacking LGBTQ? ROFLMAO Get real WOKNESS! God loves all people. He did not send his son to die on a cross to destroy anyone. Jesus died for the forgiveness of sin. Unnatural sexual desires and acts disgust God. Refer me to one verse in the Bible or any other Holy book that says this is right. May Jesus Bless you.

            Love you through Jesus Christ. Pastor David Stewart

            1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

              The book you speak of was not written by God, but men. Regular old men that when the despised someone or something, they simply proclaimed GOD SAYS THAT IS ABOMINATION! If we are created by God and God does not make mistakes, then I’m exactly what I was meant to be. I don’t care what a group of sexually repressed old men wrote about it.

  1. Rev Ned's Avatar Rev Ned

    As Rooster Cogburn said, “Texicans!@*#!!!”

  1. Reginald Jackson's Avatar Reginald Jackson

    God arbors the gay community. Same sex marriage should be banned in all US states as per Gods word.

    1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

      In your church. That doesn't include the secular government or other religions that don't hate other people.

    2. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

      Reginald, an understanding of holy Scripture as reflected in you comments is shallow and ignorant. God loves everyone. How could anyone forget that? However, anyone who speaks as you did is guilty of hatred. And that is a sin.

    3. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

      God grows trees for the Gays? Sounds like he loves the Gays after all!

  1. Andrew E Allord's Avatar Andrew E Allord

    I agree by position and responsibility she would be required as the function of her job to issue a marriage license. The issue before the court was does she have to perform the ceremony and the court said they cannot make her perform the marriage ceremony.

    How is refusal to marry someone infringing on their rights? Nothing said they cannot be married, this person said they will not marry them. How is this different than other religions forcing conversion before performing marriage ceremonies, or in cases the clergy decides the couple are not a good fit and should not be married?

    1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

      What if everyone in your community refuses to perform your marriage? What if you have to travel 100s of miles and/or pay some one $1000s to officiate your wedding because of the distance? If a representative of the government refuses to marry you because of their religious belief, then they are using the government to impose their religion upon their constituents.

  1. Daniel Ginther's Avatar Daniel Ginther

    God sanctifies marriage between a man and woman only…homosexuality is from satan, good riddance

    1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

      Please show me the chapter and verse in the bible that says this.

  1. Stephanie Peckham's Avatar Stephanie Peckham

    I try to preach using the entire bible, which includes the forgidden / forgotten books. I have found a much clearer understanding of the Bible having ALL the information. The church in the middleage was losing control as more and more people became EDUCATED and could see the differences in what was being preached in the church and what was written in the books.

    You see many references for example the Books of Kings and The Cave of Treasures. When I read the books of Adam and Eve, the light went on for me. Some mystical vauge references were explained. The Gospel of Mary, provided insight to the missing years of Jesus, his growing up HUMAN and the things he did in order to understanding his gifts.

    If you are supporting the true faith, it is all about forgiveness and leading people to the truth. Judgement is for God, not us. Love thy Neighbor regardless. God is a PERFECT God, that is why we can NEVER mets his expectations without a pure and complete source of forgiveness. If you recall, no one with a blemish could approach the alter of God. This included men who were injuried on the battlefield in defensive or offensive matters of God. They were no longer the PERFECT image of himself, they were blemished.

    It is easy to throw around scriptures, toot your own horn in the "Holyer than Thou" race. It clearly states in the Bible, you can take slaves from other tribes, just not your own. So why dont these people challenge the courts on Slavery? Or an Eye for a Eye? If you are going to claim religious exemption, why not all the legal restrictions placed on your faith.

    Seems to me people have clearly confused their personal beliefs and bigotries with the Teachings of the Gospels.

    Glory to God, Teachings through the Son Jesus, Understanding through the Holy Spirit.

    Stephanie, Sinner waiting for judgement.

  1. Lorie E DeFiores's Avatar Lorie E DeFiores

    I'm sorry that I looked at the comments.....

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    A civil union, as provided by the state, should be available for any two consenting adults.

  1. Warren Calvin Wall's Avatar Warren Calvin Wall

    It's NOT a difficult decision. Her actions are a direct violation of the 1st Amendment. She cannot enforce her religious beliefs when performing her duties as a government official. Period. She is de facto creating a government mandated religion by enforcing her religious beliefs upon the public. Enforce the Constitution and there is no problem. When operating under the direct authority of the Constitution, your personal beliefs becomes irrelevant.

  1. Stephen B. Knutti's Avatar Stephen B. Knutti

    No one has the right to require someone else to violate their religious beliefs just to push your agenda forward. If you don't agree with what another believes, then GO ELSEWHERE to get married. There are a miriad of folks who WILL perform your ceremony and it won't be an issue. Nobody cares if you are offended. Nothing happens. You feeling offended is YOUR problem, not any one else's. Why do we not hear about a straight couple sueing an LGBTQ+ minister if they refuse to perform their ceremony? They just go elsewhere and don't raise a stink. Maybe that is what everyone should do?? Take you and your offended self down the street.

  1. Minister of Bacon's Avatar Minister of Bacon

    If they know that there marriage violated the Christian rights. Why are they complaining about Christians churches,there are other churches and religions they can get married under, why does it have to be christian.

  1. Rev. Mojo's Avatar Rev. Mojo

    Yes, it IS a problem, I believe in traditional marriage. However, if 2 people want to marry, they should be allowed to. I welcome any and all faiths and types of marriage. Rev. Leilani Abbey Mojarro

  1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

    This is the concern that was raised by a number of faith leaders during the first part of the century when it looked like same-sex marriage was headed to being codified state by state and then nationally.

    That concern being that they would be forced to participate in them against the tenants of their faith or face civil prosecution.

    At that time assurances were given from the alphabet activist and various politicians that that would not be the case. But once the genie was out of the bottle... .

    1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

      Secular laws prevail; not religious laws!

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        and the 1st Amendment clearly says Secular laws CANNOT force a violation of religion.

        1. Patricia Ann Gross's Avatar Patricia Ann Gross

          Sorry, but the 1st Amendment says that you cannot pass a law "respecting the establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise therof." It seems to me like the JP is trying to establish/force her religion more than her job was violating the free exercise of her religion. The courthouse is not a church. If that is her stance, she is free to see if her church would hire her. Would she marry a Catholic to a protestant? What about a Jewish person to an athiest? These are other areas where the "church" may not be welcoming to a wedding of this type, but the courthouse should be. I agree, she could have handled this better and asked someone else if they would perform the wedding, but then she wouldn't be famous and have her name associated with a judicial ruling that limits everyone in choosing to marry who they love. That is more of what this is about than her "religious rights."

        2. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

          Daniel Gray you keep getting it wrong. Try reading the 1st Amendment in it's entirety. Like many Christians who read the Bible they only pay attention to the parts they want to be true and ignore the rest.

  1. David William Stewart's Avatar David William Stewart

    Blessings to all of you through the Lord Jesus Christ. Why argue so much and put others down for their faith. Our Fathers greatest commandment was to "Love your god with all your heart." The second was to "Love one another as you love yourself." I recommend everyone take the time to read the New Testament of the Holy Bible. The book of Acts as a starter. Also read the Book of John and Matthew. When people act as individuals and put their ideas out it is like the Catholic Church who is in great torment throughout the world right now under this very liberal Pope. Man's Doctrines keep changing until the entire Holy Bible is not being used to live our life by. Be kind to each other. Love your brothers and sisters. Do not judge a person's beliefs in the Holy Bible. If we can love each other as we love ourselves, just walk away from those who don't agree with you. Judgement day is the Lord's. Not ours as people.

    I love all of you through Jesus Christ, Pastor David William Stewart

    1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

      so your recommendation to jews, hindus, muslims, jains, pagans, seikhs, buddhists , shintoists, rastafarians and many others for them to read your bible?

      why not the other way around; maybe you should read one of their bibles and live by their accords instead just automatically assuming that yours are the right and necessary ones.

      ULC is NOT just for kkkris chins despite what you may often read here. it's supposed to be for all people of all - or no - religion. ...all children of the universe...amirite

      that people come here under the assumption that they and their beliefs are the only (true) ones is just a disservice to everyone else who believes differently.

      therein lies the problem: too many religions claim superiority over all overs that those followers not only assume theirs is the only true one but in doing so, overtly or covertly insult all others with their egotism and certitude

      as the GREAT FLYING SPAGHETTI is wont to say; Just Chill, Dude and have a Beer May he bless you with his noodley appendages Ramen

      1. David William Stewart's Avatar David William Stewart

        Brother why do you criticize everyone. Go and do good not hate. We must be tolerant of each other. I serve one God. This Church allows us that. Be of good cheer and specify what your religious beliefs are. I would not attack you for them. I Love you through my Lord Jesus Christ.

        Pastor Dave

  1. David William Stewart's Avatar David William Stewart

    Blessed are the peacemaker for they shall be called the Children of God.

  1. David William Stewart's Avatar David William Stewart

    Abomination: Is something that causes hate or disgust. In biblical usage is something go loathes or hates because it is offensive to him and his Character.

    Example of the Old Testament: Leviticus 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman, it is abomination.

    Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death, their blood is on them.

    Example of the New Testament: Romans 1:26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged unnatural relations for those contrary to nature.

    More Examples: Mark 10:6-9, Romans 1:27, Timothy 1:10, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Jude 1:7.

    Not one place in the Holy Bible is there a Chapter or verse to support Homosexual relations or marriage. In the Middle East you would be put to death. I have seen Beheadings in Saudi Arabia while serving in the US Navy.

    Good News: Chronicles 7:14 If my people who are called by my name and humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways. Then I will hear from the Heavens and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

    Corinthians 7:2 But because of temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own Husband.

    Homosexuality: Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of God.

    Best news is if you repent of your wicked ways the Lord will wash away your sins. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not come to destroy us. He came and died for our sins to be forgiven. The only thing is to go to the Lord and repent and do not repeat your sin. Praise be to you Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation.

    Peace and Love to you my brothers and sisters, Pastor David Stewart

    1. Thomas Hutchins's Avatar Thomas Hutchins

      What about David and Jonathan? Love greater than a brother.. Esther and Ruth? Where you goest i will go… Just sayin..

      1. David William Stewart's Avatar David William Stewart

        How about them? What are you getting to here? That Homosexuality was, okay? It is spelled out for you above. Our God is a loving god. Repent and he will forgive you. Live in sin and wicked ways and we suffer. Lord Jesus did not come to earth to destroy man, nor women he came to save us of our sins. It is easy to repent and to stop the same sin. For as we are born into sin we must try to be baptized and repent as many times as needed. Being that said be serious when you repent for most of us know right from wrong. Amen

  1. Rev. Deborah L. Halstead's Avatar Rev. Deborah L. Halstead

    I'm sorry, I disagree with the ruling. As an elected official Ms. Hensley needs to set aside her personal beliefs due to separation of church and state and simply abide by the law. I applaud Kentucky's decision regarding Ms. Davis, including her removal from office. Their personal feelings have no place in the execution of their duties!

    On the flip side, were they not government officials I would support their right to choose their clientele according to their beliefs.

    From the couple's perspective; unless they were deliberately provoking a judicial review (and I hope they take it further if that was the case and have the ruling overturned) I would choose someone for a joyous, rather than contentious, ceremony.

    1. Farajallah Michael Yazbek's Avatar Farajallah Michael Yazbek

      No, she needs to practice her Christianity in full. No religious leader, or government official has the right to reject the beliefs and practices of any member of the church, regardless of what the government officials say. There's this little document that has proven itself to be a thorn in the side of many a government official that seems to not understand its purpose, which is to be the governing document in this case, as well as all others. It's the very document that authorizes their existence in the first place, known as the Constitution of the United States of America. The pesky portion of this document is the First Amendment, which states that Congress (meaning any portion of the government authorized and controlled by the legislature) shall make no law establishing religion, or PROHIBITIING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF; With this prohibition in place, both Hensley and Davis are protected in their personal freedom, which men and women have died for 250 years to protect and uphold, to exercise Christianity in its fullest, which means not selectively abandoning our religious beliefs in order to keep the government and other non-believers happy. So please study more before you spew such nonsense from emotions. You should open no only the current modern translations of the Bible, but get an Orthodox Study Bible, which predates the Roman Catholic and Septaugent (King James and later) abridged Bibles, and find ALL the ancient texts that govern the very church we are members of. I'm not being harsh on you at all. I'm simply saying you need more study and prayer for enlightenment. By only practicing selective parts of Jesus' teachings and God's commandments we're not totally clean in our baptisms because we're enabling sin both by our own selves and others. Jesus said in Matthew, "Whose sins you forgive, so you are forgiven. Whose sins you retain (condone), so are your sins retained (unforgiven)." By enabling, or abetting others to sin, we're just as guilty and forfeit our own right to forgiveness and cleansing of our souls, making us unworthy of Communion in Christ and ineligible to participate in the Holy Eucharist...

      1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

        How does issuing a marriage license prohibit her from exercising her religion? Oh that's right, it doesn't. You just want to impose your insane beliefs upon others.

  1. Farajallah Michael Yazbek's Avatar Farajallah Michael Yazbek

    Before you go off on my beliefs, know that there are certain responsibilities in performing wedding rites. I believe that the two women in this article are protected in their beliefs and will win. Why? Well, it seems that there is this pesky little document, known as the Constitution Of The United States, which has 27 added Amendments, that rules this case in favor of the Justice Of The Peace that refuses to act against her Christian faith. It's the First Amendment. It states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the FREE exercise thereof;..." The key words in this all-important document is the word FREE EXERCISE THEREOF. In exercising her Christian beliefs in the way she knows, in public, she is protecting the very document that grants the authority of the US Courts systems as we know them today. Both JP Hensley and Kim Davis are doing is the very freedom granted in the First Amendment, and anyone that doesn't like it can go and pound sand. The one thing the US Constitution doesn't allow is for ANY PERSON, GOVERNMENT OR AGENCY THEREOF, to stop her from her religious practices, but much the opposite. In true Christianity we are taught to love each other, but to follow the Gospels and teachings of Jesus. The same is true for Islam, Hinduism, Buddism, Judaism and even wiccan and pagan rituals and rites. As a true and faithful Christian I will not perform same-sex marriages, either, because they violate the very tenets taught in the Acts of the Apostles, as well as the laws set forth in the Torah and Pentateuchan books of the Old Testament. There are plenty of others who WILL perform these weddings, but I'm not one of them. To do so would be a violation of my Chrismation into Orthodox Christianity, as I had to rebuke Satan and literally spit on him as a part of the tonsure into the Orthodox Church. I do not use my ordinance in the Universal Life Church as part of the Orthodox celebrations of the Liturgies that I attend. I use it in my outside evangelical practices, and yes, the Metropolitan (Bishop to non-Orthodox) is aware of this. I actually asked for, and received permission to accept this ministry before applying to be ordained. There is no validity if there is no truth and openness about what we're doing. They accept me as a lay-member of the parish, and I use my status as a member of the clergy to do what I do outside of the church with the blessings of the higher authorities of the church, since we're all on the same team as ministers of the truth.

    1. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

      The problem with viewing the First Amendment as carte blanche to take one's religious practices into any situation regardless of its requirements is that there are legal obligations that do, at times, clash with said religious freedoms. If I were a practitioner of a religion that required animal sacrifice, I could not just go into a public park and slaughter my goat there in an area not zoned for animal processing. There are laws against that because it could affect other people's health, safety, and sensibilities. I would be free to practice my animal sacrifice at a licensed processing plant or on my own property after taking the proper legal steps to make it an appropriate place to do so.

      If religious obligations render someone unsuitable for a job because they are unable to perform their duties, they are not the right person for that job, and it's not discriminatory to note that. A blood donation center is not the proper place for a Jehovah's Witness to work, for instance. A pulled-pork restaurant is not a great place for a Muslim to work. These things just make it hard for the employee to work, and it makes it hard for the employer having an employee that can't perform their job duties. It's not religious discrimination to discuss this with a prospective employee and talk about the job just not being a good fit. And if someone converts to a religion that adds religions prohibitions against some of their job duties, it's time to revisit the issue with the employer because the job is no longer a good fit. If the employer is willing to make accommodations to make sure the job still gets done and keep that employee then that's all well and good, but there is some moral obligation on the employee to decide whether they are still a good fit for a job where they can't perform some of their duties.

  1. Joe R Day's Avatar Joe R Day

    Yes, the right to marry a human of the same sex is now in question... Sad but true.

  1. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

    I'd need to know more about the situation to know whether it's alarming or not.

    This is a case of an employer deciding to allow their employee to skip out on job duties that they don't like. If this employer can tolerate that behavior, it's their prerogative to allow it. However, as part of the government, it is also this employer's responsibility to make sure that there is an employee available to perform the job duties that the other is skipping out on. So if there is, in fact, another Justice available at that same location to perform marriages for everyone, it's not alarming. If there isn't, then someone needs to legally prompt the state to make sure to provide one at a convenient (not costing more to travel to) location. If they don't, then they should be legally corrected so that they cover this issue. If they want to cover the cost of having more than one Justice in place because one of them has religious proscriptions, again, that's their prerogative, but they must provide the service with reasonable accommodation.

    I work at a deli counter where I handle various meat and cheese products. If I belonged to religion where I was forbidden to touch a particular meat, it would be up to my employer to decide whether to tolerate my refusal to touch that meat. Now, laws against religious discrimination would probably protect me from being fired for refusing to do approximately a fifth of my meat-cutting duties, but it would be inconvenient for my employer and for other employees working for me, who would have to stop whatever they were doing and rush to the counter to cover for me whenever there was a customer wanting X meat. They would have to, though, because someone has to serve the clientele. This is not a case where some customers simply wouldn't get served just because I had an issue that required others to do my job for me. It would require arrangement on the part of my employer to work around it.

    We will see if this is an alarming situation when we see how Texas responds to making sure that there are sufficient Justices available to perform marriages as needed, without costing tax-payers extra money in travel fees to get to them. If they dig in their heels, we'll know it's discrimination. If they suck it up and install more Justices we'll know they are attempting to adhere to accommodating religious freedom.

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