Panel rules Texas attorney general to face ethics complaint

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Thursday, February 11, 2016
Ken Paxton
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
AP Photo/Eric Gay

AUSTIN, TX -- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will face an ethics investigation for advising local officials they could refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses on religious grounds.

The U.S. Supreme Court last June ruled same-sex couples could wed. A complaint filed in July and co-signed by more than 200 attorneys says Paxton's stance encouraged officials to violate the Constitution and break their oaths of office.

The complaint was dismissed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas. But an appeals board appointed by the state Supreme Court reinstated it Feb. 2 and said it should be investigated.

Potential penalties could range from a reprimand to disbarment.

Paxton's office didn't immediately comment. The complaint is the latest legal fight for Republican Paxton, who's facing charges of felony securities fraud.