Hood County to issue gay-marriage licenses

Hood County Clerk Katie Lang
Hood County Clerk Katie Lang

Hood County will issue same-sex marriage licenses, Clerk Katie Lang says.

Lang updated her office website Tuesday night to say that while her religious beliefs compel her to decline to serve gay couples, other members of her office will be available to issue marriage licenses “as soon as the appropriate forms have been printed and supplied to my office.”

“I am grateful that the First Amendment continues to protect the sincerely held religious beliefs of public servants like me,” Lang wrote.

Earlier this week, Lang posted a statement criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed gay marriage and saying that she will not be issuing licenses to gay couples because of religious objections. She gave no indication that licenses would be available in the future. An employee in her office, reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, said same-sex licenses were not available.

On Sunday, Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a legal opinion that said county clerks and their employees could decline to serve gay couples if they opposed same-sex marriage on religious grounds. Paxton’s opinion, however, stopped short of giving county offices permission to refuse service to gay couples, saying marriage license duties can be delegated to employees who do not oppose the practice.

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