Texas politicians weigh in on Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling

KTRK logo
Friday, June 26, 2015
The crowd reacts as the ruling on same-sex marriage was announced outside of the Supreme Court
The crowd reacts as the ruling on same-sex marriage was announced outside of the Supreme Court

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A number of Texas politicians are releasing scathing statements in response to the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted "SCOTUS has become an unelected nine member legislature. I will continue to defend the religious liberties of TX."

In addition to his social media message, Abbott's office released a statement saying, "The Supreme Court has abandoned its role as an impartial judicial arbiter and has become an unelected nine-member legislature. Five Justices on the Supreme Court have imposed on the entire country their personal views on an issue that the Constitution and the Court's previous decisions reserve to the people of the States.


PHOTOS: Reactions to U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage

"Despite the Supreme Court's rulings, Texans' fundamental right to religious liberty remains protected. No Texan is required by the Supreme Court's decision to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs regarding marriage.

"The Texas Constitution guarantees that '(n)o human authority ought, in any case whatsoever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion.' The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion; and the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, combined with the newly enacted Pastor Protection Act, provide robust legal protections to Texans whose faith commands them to adhere to the traditional understanding of marriage.

"As I have done in the past, I will continue to defend the religious liberties of all Texans-including those whose conscience dictates that marriage is only the union of one man and one woman. Later today, I will be issuing a directive to state agencies instructing them to prioritize the protection of Texans' religious liberties."

In addition to the governor, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick tweeted prior to the decision that he requested an opinion from the Attorney General's office on the Supreme Court's same sex marriage ruling.

His full statement reads, "In Texas, the law of the land defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. This principle was adopted by over 76 percent of Texas voters in 2005. However, that definition could be struck down or altered by our nation's highest court.

"If that should happen, county clerks and Justices of the Peace could be forced to subjugate their sincerely held religious beliefs. The practical reality of this conflict will occur throughout the state.

"This past session, the legislature passed protections for members of the clergy who could be pressured into performing marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Similar First Amendment protections must be extended to others who might encounter similar pressure for same sex marriages.

"My request for opinion asks Attorney General Paxton to provide guidance to county clerks and Justices of the Peace who face this conflict of conscience."

Today Patrick released this statement: ""Today's decision by the Supreme Court is not a decision based on any law that Congress has passed legalizing gay marriage in the United States. The Supreme Court, as it has in the past, is making law. I do not believe that is what the Constitution intended or allows. In my view, this is a clear violation of the separation of powers.

Article VI, section 2 of the U. S. Constitution:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

"Nearly 75 percent of all Texans voted to place in our state Constitution that, in Texas, marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman. If Congress wants to pass a law legalizing marriage in the United States, it would never pass. However, the Supreme Court has taken it upon themselves, by the margin on one vote, to create law and override the will of the people of 14 states.

"In a 5 - 4 vote today supporting gay marriage as the law of the land, the Supreme Court has once again ruled in a manner that I believe is not only unconstitutional but threatens to undermine the First Amendment protections from government interfering with the free exercise of religion. The First Amendment, which reads:

Amendment I:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

"Now, more than ever, we must ensure that faithful Texans be afforded their religious liberty protections. During this past session the Senate passed SB 2065, which was signed by the Governor, that protects pastors from having to perform a marriage between two people of the same sex if it goes against their religious beliefs.

"Yesterday, I sent a request to Texas Attorney General Paxton for a legal opinion on the protection of religious liberty rights of Texans guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, should the Supreme Court rule in favor of same sex marriage, as they did today. My request broadens the scope of SB 2065 to include County Clerks, judges and Justices of the Peace who may be forced to issue a marriage license or preside over a wedding that is against the free exercise of their religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

"It has been said that those who oppose gay marriage are on the wrong side of history. I would rather be on the wrong side of history than on the wrong side of my faith and my beliefs. I believe I am not alone in that view in this country.

"May God continue to bless our country and the great state of Texas."

As for Paxton, since the ruling the Texas Attorney General has voiced his displeasure with the decision.

Following today's ruling, we must recognize the primacy and importance of our first freedom - religious liberty.

No court, no law, no rule, and no words will change the simple truth that marriage is the union of #1man1woman.

Todays #SCOTUS ruling has made clear our Constitution can be molded to mean anything by unelected judges.

Following #SCOTUS flawed ruling, the next fight is religious liberty. #tcot #txlege

Houston's Annise Parker, the city's openly gay mayor, tweeted her pleasure at the ruling, saying, "At last! 'And the greatest of these is love...'-A"

Parker also released a statement: "At last! What a joyous, historic day for America, the LGBT community, individual families, the institution of marriage and the fight for equality. I used to think that I would not see this day in my lifetime. In recent years, however, it's been clear that personal hearts and minds, and the courts, were headed in this direction. Marriage is about love, commitment, and family. Couples who make that commitment deserve to be respected under law, with the full legal protections that accompany a marriage license. Finally, they are!"

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn for Texas tweeted "Gratuitous: "It is one thing ... (to find) a right to same-sex marriage; it is something else to portray .. (those who disagree) as bigoted."

Former Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry also released a statement expressing his disappointment with the ruling based on what he called a "traditional" understanding of marriage.

His statement says, "I am disappointed the Supreme Court today chose to change the centuries old definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. I'm a firm believer in traditional marriage, and I also believe the 10th Amendment leaves it to each state to decide this issue. I fundamentally disagree with the court rewriting the law and assaulting the 10th Amendment. Our founding fathers did not intend for the judicial branch to legislate from the bench, and as president, I would appoint strict Constitutional conservatives who will apply the law as written."