TRINITY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - In the wake of the US Supreme Court's landmark decision to make same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states, the ripple effects of the decision are still ongoing.
Along those lines, Trinity County Clerk Shasta Bergman issued a statement Monday that said she will not issue licenses to same-sex couples for religious reasons and as a matter of conscience.
“However on the heels of the Supreme Court decision, my staff and I have worked out a solution that works for each person's religious freedoms as well as other personal beliefs and opinions,” Bergman said. “After checking with each deputy clerk in order to get their individual perspectives on this issue and to ensure that any decision was not going to trample the rights of any clerk by delegating the duty to someone who held the same religious beliefs as myself.”
Bergman said as a result of the meeting between her and her staff, they have concluded that all marriage licenses will be given by appointment only to make sure no clerk is in a position to go against his or her beliefs, and no citizens are denied their rights to be provided with a marriage license.
According to Bergman, there will be clerks available to issue licenses to same-sex couples, and there will be clerks that will not issue the licenses because of religious convictions.
“Any question on this policy should come directly to me, and I will gladly answer any questions or concerns,” Bergman said in the statement.
"Friday, the United States Supreme Court again ignored the text and spirit of the Constitution to manufacture a right that simply does not exist," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement released Sunday. "In so doing, the Court weakened itself and weakened the rule of law, but did nothing to weaken our resolve to protect religious liberty and return to democratic self-government in the face of judicial activists attempting to tell us how to live."
Paxton said his office received hundreds of requests for guidance on the same-sex marriage issue from hundreds of county and state officials. The Texas attorney general also pointed out that there is no court order in place to issue any particular license, "
only the flawed direction by the U.S. Supreme Court on Constitutionality and applicable state laws."
However, Paxton also said that any clerk who chooses not to issue same-sex marriage licenses because of religious objections could still face litigation and/or fines.
"But, numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights," Paxton said.