Americans United sent a letter yesterday to Judge James R. DePiazza of Texas warning him that his attempts to erect roadblocks for same-sex couples seeking marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment.
From the letter:
"In response, you have erected a new obstacle: those who come before you for a declaration of civil marriage must acknowledge in writing that you 'prefer to not conduct same-sex marriages' and must agree to refrain from mentioning the topic of marriage for same-sex couples 'before, during or after the ceremony.'... This demeaning requirement treats same-sex couples as second-class citizens, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Under Obergefell, the government must provide service to same-sex couples seeking to marry 'on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.' 2015 WL 2473451, at *19. A government official may not require couples, as a condition of getting married, to sign a form that disparages certain people’s marriages; this 'impose[s] stigma and injury of the kind prohibited by our basic charter.' Id. at *16"
Included in the letter was a memo originally sent to all state attorneys general and Texas county clerks reminding them that government workers "may not remain on marriage duty while refusing to serve same-sex couples".
We hope that Judge DePiazza chooses to heed this warning and allow same-sex couples to be marriage without this demeaning obstacle.