Texas Attorney General To Be Grilled Over Religious Liberty Advice
Critics contend that opinion regarding objections to Obergefell was unethical.
Both Ed Whelan (here) and I (here) have previously written about the unfounded backlash to Texas attorney general Ken Paxton’s advisory opinion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision last year. Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick asked the attorney general to opine whether, and to what extent, government officials involved in the processing of marriage licenses and conducting wedding ceremonies could object, on religious grounds, from participating in those activities for same-sex couples. Attorney General Paxton issued a lengthy, thorough opinion that canvassed the relevant legal authorities (both constitutional and statutory) on the subject of an employer’s obligation to accommodate the religious beliefs of employees. The opinion ultimately concluded that the application of the legal principles in any particular case was very fact-specific, but that — in general — a county clerk or similar official with objections to same-sex marriage should delegate the objectionable responsibilities to colleagues not sharing those objections. The opinion ended with these words: “Importantly, the strength of any particular religious-accommodation claim depends on the particular facts of each case.” The opinion did not advocate defiance of the Obergefell decision.
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