Texas Legislator Tries to Preempt Gay Marriage Ruling

Texas Legislator Tries to Preempt Gay Marriage Ruling January 9, 2015

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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