We’re a simple paperwork filing away and one step from the full House vote on the County Clerk Protection Bill.
All that’s keeping SB 522 from going from the House State Affairs Committee (which passed it 8-3 on Tuesday) to the House Calendars committee to be set for full floor vote is the submission of what’s known as a committee report. A committee report is required before any bill can be considered for placement on the House floor calendar. You can help us make that happen by the midnight Saturday deadline by urging State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook’s office to send over the report immediately!
SB 522, a bill to protect the religious liberty and conscience rights of county clerks and justices of the peace as it relates to marriage licenses and ceremonies, passed the Texas Senate on April 12 and is still eligible for consideration through Tuesday, May 23 if the House committee report is received.
A House version (HB 1813) died in committee — so SB 522 is our best opportunity to protect the religious freedom of any county clerk, judge, or magistrate to defer the signing of a marriage license or performing of a marriage ceremony to another employee in the county or another county.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex “marriage” ruling, some clerks and justices of the peace across the country have been sued, harassed, or even thrown in jail for simply wanting to uphold their religious liberty rights, while same sex couples are still able to obtain a marriage license from another employee.
Here in Texas, a county clerk was sued by two men for choosing to defer to another employee the issuing of a same-sex ‘marriage’ license – even though the homosexual couple was granted a license. In addition, Dallas County Justice of the Peace Bill Metzger has been pressured to resign for wanting to uphold his beliefs in marriage between one man and one woman (thankfully, Justice Metzger has refused to resign). We believe all Texans, including government employees, should retain their First Amendment religious liberty rights on the issue of marriage. We have a long history of religious accommodation in law and this issue should be treated the same.
TAKE ACTION: Urge Chairman Byron Cook’s office to send over the committee report on SB 522 immediately:
Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana): 512-463-0730, Byron.Cook@house.texas.gov