Texas State Representative, James White is reported to have submitted a letter to the Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, seeking his legal opinion on whether Texans must recognise the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage laws.
According to Pink News, White ascertains that as the Texas Constitution has not been amended, and as such, the State “continues to define marriage exclusively as the union of one man and one woman”. He goes on to quote the Family Code from the Constitution, stating, “A marriage between persons of the same sex or a civil union is contrary to the public policy of this state.”
Although the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, declared a nationwide right to same-sex marriage, White is of the opinion that private citizens are not obligated to uphold this decision.
He argues that although federal same-sex marriage laws supersede state laws this is only enforceable by government officials. Essentially he suggests that private citizens do not need to adhere to federal, meaning that private businesses can refuse same-sex couples the same rights or recognition afforded to opposite-sex couples.
The request comes just days before the Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, signed a bill banning trans and gender non-conforming girls from participating in school sports.
Under the new law “student-athletes will be allowed to participate in interscholastic athletic competitions only as part of teams that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates at or near the time of their birth. Modified birth certificates may be referred to only if they were edited to correct clerical errors, not if an individual legally changed sex on the document”, according to the Washington Post.
In May of this year, Texas also passed its most restrictive abortion bill, banning abortion after six weeks, including in cases of rape or incest. The bill also allows for citizens to sue service providers if they are in breach of the six-week rule.
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