Texas leaders met last week to discuss new laws that could protect religious freedoms and the liberties of those who oppose same-sex marriage.
In response to the Senate Committee on State Affairs hearings, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “Religious liberty is the First Freedom established in the Bill of Rights, and the moral bedrock upon which our nation has been built,”
The U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in July of 2015. Since then Paxton has been attempting to protect rights for court clerks or judges who maintain “sincerely-held religious beliefs” and do not want to perform or serve same-sex marriages.
Clergy members in Texas can refuse to marry same-sex couples and Paxton wants to extend to those rights to public servants.
“I commend the Texas Senate, Chairwoman Joan Huffman, and Lt. Gov. Patrick for holding this hearing and keeping a light shined on this important issue, working to assert these inalienable rights and protect the people of Texas from punishment for simply expressing their sincerely-held religious beliefs,” he said.
Paxton joined an amicus brief in December that seeks to protect religious expression in the U.S. Military in United States v. Sterling.
His agenda continued on Jan. 11 when he filed an amicus brief on behalf of 20 states with the U.S. Supreme Court in Zubik v. Burwell. That brief supports the religious nonprofit’s right to exercise sincerely-held religious beliefs.