Attorney General Ken Paxton asked that he and interim commissioner of Texas Department of State Health Services Kirk Cole be excused from a contempt of court hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 12.
The order to appear was issued by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia because Cole and Paxton refused to recognize a same-sex marriage for purposes of a death certificate. Their refusal defies Garcia’s marriage-equality ruling that declared the Texas marriage amendment unconstitutional.
Garcia ordered the state recognize the marriage of John and James Stone-Hoskins. James died earlier this year before the Supreme Court ruling. But Garcia’s ruling was made in February 2014 and was affirmed by the Fifth District Court of Appeals in July 2015.
Although Garcia ordered the state to reissue the death certificate immediately, it took Cole’s office two days to comply.
Cole and Paxton had until today to respond to the court with any written defense. Instead, they asked to be excused from appearing. They also asked the judge to rule by 3 p.m. so they’d have time to appeal.
I’m sure Garcia will respond to that request “immediately.”