Only a few years after the historic ruling in Obergefell that LGBTQ couples have the same fundamental constitutional right to marry as straight couples, efforts to roll back our right to marry are picking up steam.
In December, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Division, a case that has the potential to undo much of the progress we’ve made if the plaintiff gets the outcome he wants—a license to discriminate against his customers based on his personal opposition to marriage equality.
Here in Texas, our own supreme court seems intent on chipping away at our rights, ruling recently that a lawsuit to prevent the City of Houston from providing insurance benefits to the spouses of LGBTQ employees could proceed to trial in blatant disregard of Obergefell.
And now we’re hearing that local elected officials are flat out refusing to do their jobs when a same-sex couple seeks marriage-related services. Irion County Clerk Molly Criner (with coaching from an anti-LGBTQ advocacy organization) has loudly proclaimed that she will not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. And we know of at least two Justices of the Peace, one in the Dallas area and one in Waco, who have publicly announced their refusal to officiate weddings for same-sex couples.
We’re growing more and more concerned about these discriminatory refusals.
Have you or someone you know been turned away? Do you plan to marry but are unsure whether your local Justice of the Peace will officiate or turn you away on your wedding day? Let us know! Learning more about the challenges couples face can help us determine what actions we can take to protect you and all LGBTQ Texans seeking to exercise their right to marry.
We’ve come too far to let the opponents of equality deny us the right to marry or diminish our families. Click here and tell us how this effort to roll back the right to marry is affecting you!
Chief Program Officer, Equality Texas