AG: They have their first Amendment right to religion
County clerks in Texas who object to gay marriage can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite last week's landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring states to allow same-sex marriage, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Sunday.
The nation's top court said on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to wed, handing a victory to the American gay rights movement.
Paxton said in a statement that hundreds of public officials in Texas were seeking guidance on how to implement what he called a lawless and flawed decision by an "activist" court.
The state's attorney general said that while the Supreme Court justices had "fabricated" a new constitutional right, they did not diminish, overrule, or call into question the First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion.
"County clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses," Paxton wrote, adding that the strength of any such claim would depend on the facts of each case