Main | Thursday, January 08, 2015

TEXAS: GOP Rep Introduces Bill To Stop Paying State Employees Who Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

GOP Texas state Rep. Cecil Bell today introduced a bill that would suspend the paychecks of any state employee who issues a same-sex marriage license in the event that becomes legal. Via the Texas Tribune:
State Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, said he filed HB 623 to prevent any federal court or federal action from allowing gay marriage in Texas. "The federal government is trying to act to create moral standards, and that's just not acceptable," Bell said. His bill says taxes or public funds can’t be used to issue same-sex marriage licenses or be used to enforce a court order to recognize same-sex marriage. The bill also requires state courts to dismiss legal actions that challenge a provision of the bill and award legal costs and attorney fees to the defendants. Citing the 11th Amendment, which gives states sovereign immunity, the bill also says the state isn’t subject to a lawsuit for complying with the act — regardless of a contradictory federal ruling. "It is my belief and expectation that our courts should not be tied up in that matter," Bell said.
From the bill:
State or local taxpayer funds or governmental salaries may not be used for an activity that includes the licensing or support of same-sex marriage. A state or local governmental employee officially may not recognize, grant, or enforce a same-sex marriage license. If an employee violates this subsection, the employee may not continue to receive a salary, pension, or other employee benefit at the expense of the taxpayers of this State.

Taxes or public funds may not be utilized to enforce a court order requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage license. A court of this State shall dismiss a legal action challenging a provision of this section and shall award costs and attorney's fees to a person or entity named as a defendant in the legal action. A person employed by this State or a local governmental entity who violates or interferes with the implementation of this section may not continue to receive a salary, pension, or other employee benefit.

If any section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Act is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this Act, the legislature hereby declaring that it would have passed this, and each and every section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, and word thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections, subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs, sentences, clauses, phrases, or words hereof may be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise ineffective. All constitutionally valid applications of this Act shall be severed from any applications that a court finds to be invalid, leaving the valid applications in force, because it is the legislature's intent and priority that the valid applications be allowed to stand alone.
Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Texas House by a 2-1 margin. (Tipped by JMG reader Luis)

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