Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton continues to actively uphold Texas law in the face of unconstitutional actions taken by Travis County judges. The State has sought multiple stays from the Texas Supreme Court. General Paxton issued the following statement:
“The Texas Constitution clearly defines marriage as between one man and one woman, as Texas voters approved by an overwhelming majority. The law of Texas has not changed, and will not change due to the whims of any individual judge or county clerk operating on their own capacity anywhere in Texas. Activist judges don’t change Texas law and we will continue to aggressively defend the laws of our state and will ensure that any licenses issued contrary to law are invalid.”
A timeline of recent events relating to this issue:
- On Tuesday, a probate judge in Travis County acted without authority to unilaterally declare the Texas definition of marriage unconstitutional in a private probate proceeding.
- On Tuesday night, the Attorney General intervened, requesting the Texas Supreme Court to stay and overturn that erroneous ruling. That request is still pending.
- On Thursday morning, a state district court judge, also in Travis County, declared the Texas definition of marriage unconstitutional and issued a temporary restraining order directing the Travis County clerk to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.
- The judge did not comply with Texas law, which requires the Attorney General to be notified whenever a state law is ruled unconstitutional.
- Pursuant to this judge’s order, the Travis County Clerk unlawfully issued a marriage license to the same-sex couple, who subsequently took part in a ceremony.
- The Attorney General immediately intervened, asking the Texas Supreme Court to stay this proceeding, as well as any state court proceedings that seek to undermine the constitutionality of Texas’ marriage law.
- In keeping with state law, the Attorney General is also seeking to void the marriage license issued due to the erroneous judicial order.
- The Attorney General is also filing suit enjoining the Travis County Clerk from issuing any same-sex marriage licenses.
Additionally, today the Attorney General filed a response in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, following a request from plaintiffs in a separate case to lift the stay on the court’s ruling on Texas’ marriage laws. That case was argued in January.