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Politics

Lawyers Threaten to File Complaint Against Paxton For Same-Sex Marriage Response

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Laura Buckman/Texas Tribune
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Texas attorneys are threatening to file a complaint against state Attorney General Ken Paxton for his statement that county clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples could get pro bono legal representation.

From the Texas Tribune: Roughly 150 Texas attorneys have signed on to a letter threatening to file a complaint with the State Bar of Texas against Attorney General Ken Paxton for his response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.

"It seems to us that your edict to encourage Texas clerks to violate a direct ruling of the United States Supreme Court violates" the State Bar's rules requiring attorneys to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the letter states. 

Paxton’s office did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment on Friday morning. After the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide, he issued an opinion telling Texas clerks they did not have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it violated their religious beliefs — though he suggested that they could face litigation.

"Our religious liberties find protection in state and federal constitutions and statutes," he said at the time. "While they are indisputably our first freedom, we should not let them be our last.”

If Paxton doesn’t change his direction to county clerks in the coming weeks, Steve Fischer, a former director of the State Bar of Texas, said he plans to file a complaint he anticipates hundreds of other lawyers will sign onto.

“I think he could very easily be disbarred,” said Fischer, who wrote the letter sent to Paxton’s office Friday. “He violated his oath to specifically uphold the United States Constitution.” 

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