Texas Legislator Tries to Preempt Gay Marriage Ruling

The Texas state legislature is full of geniuses, I tell ya. Geniuses. Like Rep. Cecil Bell, Jr. of Magnolia. As the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is preparing to rule on the constitutionality of that state’s ban on same-sex marriage, he’s submitted a bill that would prevent clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples even if that ruling goes against the state.

On the eve of a federal appeals court hearing in a lawsuit challenging Texas’ same-sex marriage bans, a Republican legislator has introduced a bill that would prohibit county clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Rep. Cecil Bell Jr. (R-Magnolia) on Wednesday introduced House Bill 623, which he’s calling the “Texas Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act.”

HB 623 would amend the Texas Family Code to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds for the “the licensing or support of same-sex marriage.” It would also bar government employees from recognizing, granting or enforcing same-sex marriage licenses. Any government employee who violates the provision would be barred from collecting “a salary, pension, or other employee benefit.”

HB 623 would also require Texas courts to dismiss challenges to the law and award attorneys’ fees to defendants. And it would grant Texas sovereign immunity under the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when it comes to enforcing the law, “regardless of a contrary federal court ruling.”

Yeah, good luck with that. If the 5th Circuit, and ultimately the Supreme Court, does rule that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, it would void this law along with the more general ban the state passed. And declaring that you have “sovereign immunity” to ignore such a ruling won’t magically make it true, any more than it helped George Wallace circumvent Brown v Board of Education 60 years ago. We fought a civil war over this. You lost. Get the fuck over it.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Well, if at first you don’t secede, try, try again!

  • Kevin Kehres

    Not the sharpest knife in the drawer — but he’s in drawer full of dull knives…

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    @Kevan (#2)

    Actually, I think he is in a drawer full of rocks and sand, so that every time the draw is opened and closed, the blade gets further dulled.

    (Not sure why *I* have a drawer full of sand and rocks, now that I think about it…)

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    Or “Kevin”. How to vowels work again? They are all interchangeable, right?

  • D. C. Sessions

    Yeah, good luck with that. If the 5th Circuit, and ultimately the Supreme Court, does rule that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, it would void this law along with the more general ban the state passed.

    The current Supreme Court might be pretty far out there, but if there’s anything that will get a Federal Judge — of any level — worked up, it’s being told that some State legislature has declared itself above the Federal Judiciary.

    This could be fun to watch.

  • John Pieret

    Heck, he’s not the sharpest butter knife in the drawer.

    11th Amendment:

    The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

    Umm … the only “immunity” that Texas would get from that is if a citizen, say, of Oklahoma or Canada sued Texas in Federal court for the right to get married in Texas. That’s not how it works anyway.

  • eric

    Maybe it’s a delaying tactic; trying to buy several months of additional time by forcing the courts to rule on this law in a new case, after they rule on the (anti-)SSM law.

    In any event, legislators try this all the time. Pretty much every piece of bigoted or religiously intolerant piece of legislation these days includes a rider to the effect of “…and this legislation shall not be construed as unconstitutional.” Its never worked before, it won’t work this time.

  • John Pieret

    To be more correct, the 11th Amendment has been held to include immunity from suits of its own citizens for monetary damages or equitable relief, without the state’s consent (most if not all states have consented to at least some suits). More importantly, the Supreme Court has held that it doesn’t extend actions seeking to enjoin state officials from violating the Federal Constitution or laws.

  • http://florilegia.wordpress.com Ibis3, These verbal jackboots were made for walking

    It would also bar government employees from recognizing, granting or enforcing same-sex marriage licenses.

    So anyone who happens to work for the government like the clerk at the DMV or the cleaning staff at the state legislature building is not allowed to recognize a same-sex marriage as valid? Sounds like theocracy to me.

  • Rasalhague

    HB 623 would also require Texas courts to dismiss challenges to the law and award attorneys’ fees to defendants.

    So the law has a clause usurping judicial oversight? Awesome. That one should go over really well with the judge if anybody were to mount a challenge…

  • Childermass

    A very cunning plan bill.

    Not.

    ———

    HB 623 would also require Texas courts to dismiss challenges to the law and award attorneys’ fees to defendants.

    So the law has a clause usurping judicial oversight? Awesome. That one should go over really well with the judge if anybody were to mount a challenge…

    This is moot anyways as the challenge is in Federal court and not a Texas court. I don’t think that too many Texas judges will rule against SSM since they are elected and since this Texas it will still be a few years before SSM can win in Texas especially since liberals are less likely to show up at voting time.

  • Doc Bill

    Cecil Bell. High school education. General contractor. Theocrat. All-round good old boy and Bible thumper.

    He is totally representative of his constituency! Don’t need no book learning!

  • magistramarla

    “It would also bar government employees from recognizing, granting or enforcing same-sex marriage licenses.”

    There is going to be a big problem here with the military bases in Texas. The military now recognizes same sex marriages performed in states where they are legal. Does this idiot legislator think that he has any jurisdiction over the many military bases in Texas?

  • Taz

    I encourage everyone to go to the link Ed provided and take a look at this guy. Seriously, he’s straight out of central casting for the role of “idiotic redneck Texas jackass”.

  • whheydt

    Re magistramaria @ #13…

    That one is easy to fix…just shut down all the military bases in Texas and be sure you point out who caused that to be done.

  • gerryl

    The name of the bill is too long. It will be shortened to “Texas Preservation of S&M Act.” That might get it a little more attention.

  • david

    “It would also bar government employees from recognizing, granting or enforcing same-sex marriage licenses.”

    How do you enforce a marriage license?

  • http://florilegia.wordpress.com Ibis3, These verbal jackboots were made for walking

    @david Maybe it means forcing others to recognize or grant them?

  • Anri

    david @ 17:

    How do you enforce a marriage license?

    By stopping people who are trying to prevent two people from getting married.