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AG Paxton May Be Held in Contempt of Court for Disobeying Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Marjorie Kamys Cotera
Texas Tribune

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton may face contempt of court charges next week for his part in denying a married same-sex couple a death certificate acknowledging their marriage.

A lawsuit was filed against Paxton today in federal court in San Antonio by James Stone-Hoskins, on behalf of himself and his partner, John Allen Stone-Hoskins, who died in January. James wants the death certificate to note that he and John Allen were married — the couple wed in New Mexico in 2014 — but as of now it lists him as a 'significant other.'

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, that also included a provision that couples' marriages remained valid from state to state. That is, if a couple was married in New Mexico, that marriage would remain valid in Texas or any other state.

Despite the ruling, state officials refused at the time to change the label on Stone-Hoskins' husband's death certificate. He filed a lawsuit this morning, and today U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that officials should correct the death certificate.

Judge Garcia is now deciding whether to charge Paxton along with Kirk Cole, interim commissioner of the Department of State Health Services, with contempt of court, for disobeying an order Garcia handed down in July officially overturning Texas' same-sex marriage ban.

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