Texas Attorney General: State Workers Can Deny Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

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LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) —

Texas’ conservative Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is calling the Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry a “lawless ruling” and says state workers can cite their religious objections in denying marriage licenses.

But he warns in a statement that any clerk, justice of the peace or other administrator who declines to issue a license to a same-sex couple could face litigation or a fine.

However, in his nonbinding legal opinion, Paxton says “numerous lawyers” stand ready to defend, free of charge, any public official refusing to grant one.

Paxton’s opinion states that the Supreme Court’s ruling did nothing to eliminate rights of religious liberty.

While many Republicans have said they disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling, officials in most states have said that they will abide by it. Paxton’s comments echo those of Gov. Greg Abbott who says Texans can’t be forced by the court ruling to act contrary to their religious beliefs.