Maxey files complaint against Paxton with state bar

Glen MaxeyFormer state Rep. Glen Maxey filed a complaint against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton related to his opinion issued last weekend to county clerks. Paxton wrote that although same-sex couples would have to be accommodated, clerks could follow their religious beliefs and not issue the marriage licenses made legal by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here’s a link to the full grievance.

From a press release sent by Maxey:

Paxton has violated the following Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. The violations are as follows:

*R 1.06(b)(2): Paxton has a conflict of interest because his representation of his client (the State) is conflicted with his own self-interest in demagogic self-promotion to pander to his right-wing Tea Party supporters, even at the sacrifice of the rights of Texans
under the United States Constitution.

*Rule 4.01(a): in representing his client (the State), Paxton has clearly made “false statement of law” to the public, in derogation of the fundamental Law of the Land, the United States Constitution.

*Rule 8.04(a)(1): in assisting and inducing Assistant Attorneys General to make knowingly false statements of fact and law in patently erroneous legal opinions that are flatly inconsistent with the United States Constitution, as declared by the United States Supreme Court.

*Rule 8.04(a)(3): in engaging in conduct involving deceit, dishonesty, and misrepresentation, in issuing the false and misleading opinion.

*Rule 8.04(a)(12): Mr. Paxton has violated the statutes setting out his official duties, including Government Code sections 402.041-402.042, by failing to issue an opinion setting out truthfully “the legal reasons and principles on which it is based.”

*Rules 8.04(a)(3), 8.04(a)(12): Finally, and most egregiously, Paxton violated his sworn oaths of office. Specifically, he violated the statutory oath that he took to become licensed to practice law in Texas. Section 82.037 of the Texas Government Code required Paxton to swear that he would “support the constitutions of the United States and this state.” He has violated both that oath and the United States Constitution.

Additionally, Mr. Paxton violated his State Oath of Office, required under Article 16, Section 1, of the Texas Constitution, in which he stated that he “will faithfully execute the duties of the office of Attorney General the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God.”

—  David Taffet

I’m applying to be game warden so I can refuse to issue hunting licenses

Taffet,DavidI’ve decided to apply to Texas Parks and Wildlife to become a game warden.

Unfortunately, hunting is against my religion, so, once appointed, I won’t be issuing any legally sanctioned government licenses. I do expect to be paid my full salary and I expect everyone who likes to hunt to understand because otherwise they’ll be interfering with my deeply held religious beliefs.

That’s because our attorney general, Ken Paxton, believes people who work for the government should have the right to follow their religious beliefs — and I’m sure he wasn’t just talking about same-sex marriage.

John Turner-McClelland serves as president of the Denton County Fresh Water Supply District 11-A. After closely considering what Jesus would do, he decided water and sewer systems aren’t for sinners.

“Shit in a bucket,” this religiously motivated public servant advised.

Following one’s religious beliefs should apply to all government employees who issue licenses. Everyone at the Department of Public Safety needs to take a good look at whom they’re letting drive.

Any Muslims work for the DPS? Well, in Saudi Arabia, women can’t drive. Why should they in Texas? If it’s your deeply held religious belief, don’t issue women driver’s licenses. Paxton says you don’t have to. It’s called accommodating your religious beliefs. Oh, and Paxton will make sure you receive your full pay, because, hell, you answer to a higher authority.

What about voter registration?

What if you happen to work in the registrar’s office and it’s your deeply held religious belief that no damn good comes from bigoted white people voting?

Ken Paxton’s got the answer for you.

Don’t register their bigoted asses. It’s against your deeply held values and to hell with Congress and the U.S. Constitution that says every citizen has a right to vote.

Work at the food counter in the county courthouse? I believe when I passed by there last week I saw B-L-T on the menu. If it was me, I’d refuse to sell it to you because bacon goes against my deeply held religious belief that pork is only kosher when wrapped in a wonton and served on Christmas Eve. In fact, the Levitical prohibition against pork uses the exact same word — toeveh — as against man lying with another man.

Ever wonder why it takes months for a new bar or restaurant to get its liquor license? A number of TABC agents are Baptist. You may qualify, but they don’t think you should be drinking. Or dancing, but that doesn’t take a license, except in Dallas where we still have dance hall permits.

So they just won’t — or shouldn’t — issue your license.

Because Ken Paxton said they didn’t have to if it’s their deeply held religious belief.

And if you’re a Jehovah’s Witness? They don’t believe in the sovereignty of the state, so they don’t have to issue any license whatsoever. But I’m sure they’ll stay on the payroll. Paxton wouldn’t want to discriminate.

Hopefully the next time Paxton gets on a plane, here’s the announcement he hears from the cockpit: “Good morning. I’m Captain Smith. Our flight to Houston would have taken 27 minutes, but I’m Amish and I don’t really believe in this form of transportation.”

—  David Taffet

Will there be a lawsuit after all?

Hood County Clerk Katie Lang

Hood County Clerk Katie Lang

Well, it appeared that Hood County Clerk Katie Lang was going to be able to avoid a lawsuit when, earlier this week, she changed her mind and said that her office would, indeed, be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But looks like now there will be a lawsuit after all.

Even though Lang said Friday, June 26, after the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding marriage equality, that she would not allow those licenses to be issued. Her change of heart came Tuesday evening after news broke that a gay male couple denied a license by her office was going to file suit. Lang relented then and said that even though her religious beliefs prevented her from issuing those licenses herself, someone in her office would do so.

But today, when the men returned to the clerk’s office to apply for their license, they were told Hood County would not be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples for three weeks. And then …. Well, I’ll just let Glen Maxey tell the story:

“Yee haw. We may have ourselves a federal lawsuit against recalcitrant clerks.
“Remember our drama with Clerk Lang in Hood County? Well, after saying she’d find a heathen in her office to issue licenses, when our gay couple arrived today they were told they wouldn’t be issuing gay licenses for three weeks. Needed new forms. And then Jan [Soifer] and Austin [Kaplan], our erstwhile fighters for justice big city lawyers arrived. Right there in Granbury, Hood County Texas. And they presented Clerk Lang with what’s called a ‘demand letter.’ In layman’s terms: Crap or get off the pot or we’ll sue your ass. Clerk Lang said no. Attorneys asked if a heterosexual couple walked in would they be able to get a license. YES. ‘Can we see the forms they would fill out?’ asks Jan. So that form says ‘Mr.’ and ‘M__’ where you, I guess, write an ‘rs’ for Mrs or a ‘s’ for Ms. Jan asks, ‘Why can’t we put an ‘r’ there for ‘Mr.’ Clerk: ‘NO, That would be altering a government document.’ Wait. Putting Mrs or Ms isn’t a problem and putting Mr. is??

“Well, maybe sourpuss Lang can read a demand letter. Because it says issue the good men a license or we’ll file a lawsuit on Monday morning. Hope she has a glorious July 4th weekend having a garage sale raising the money to pay for Jan and Austin’s lawyers fees when the federal judge tells her and every other clerk that AG Ken Paxton’s ‘I’m with Jesus’ defense just doesn’t cut it.”

—  Tammye Nash

New anti-marriage ad is quite entertaining

Screen shot 2015-07-02 at 4.47.29 PM

Totally not gay guy talking about being for marriage discrimination

A new anti-marriage ad was posted by YouTube by CatholicVote.

A group of people who don’t realize they’re gay or lesbian get emotional talking about marriage being between a man and a woman. Well, they don’t really talk about it. They just say it and then get emotional being alone.

Of course they’re alone. A majority of Catholics in this country favor marriage equality.

Watch the video here. It’s really very entertaining. Maybe a couple of these guys will find themselves a boyfriend.

—  David Taffet

TCDRS: More Texas compliance with marriage ruling

Screen shot 2015-07-02 at 1.46.04 PMWith all this compliance with the Texas marriage rulings, our governor’s head must be spinning. Here’s the latest from Texas County and District Retirement System:

 

 

TCDRS Compliant With Same-Sex Marriage Decision


At the Texas County & District Retirement System, members can designate their legal spouse as their beneficiary regardless of gender.

This means our systems, website and processes are in compliance with the IRS ruling on recognizing same-sex spouses and the June 26 Supreme Court decision.

If you are a TCDRS member who needs assistance designating your beneficiary, please call TCDRS Member Services at 800-823-7782.

—  David Taffet

Johnson County’s first married couple

Johnson County couple

Craig Lawrence and Travis Burk, who have been together 6 1/2 years, are the first same-sex couple to marry in Johnson County, south of Tarrant County.

—  David Taffet

Texas Retirement System has no problem complying with Obergefell

Screen shot 2015-07-02 at 11.02.21 AMFor all the bitching and moaning from Texas’ top elected officials, Texas is having no problem complying with the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage-equality decision when it comes to benefits and rights that flow from marriage.

Resource Center has been in touch with Texas Municipal Retirement System about pension issues faced by its LGBT retirees. Here’s an email Rafael McDonnell received in response to a message he left explaining they’re in full compliance with Obergefell v. Hodge, the marriage equality decision:

Dear Mr. McDonnell,

In response to your voicemail message on July 1, 2015, this is to advise you that TMRS is aware of, and intends to comply with, the recent US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.  As stated in my April 10th letter to Ms. Cox, CEO of the Resource Center, TMRS has been in compliance with applicable IRS requirements regarding same-sex spouses and the TMRS Act allows a member to name any person, spouse or non-spouse, as a beneficiary.

Following the Obergefell decision, TMRS will now recognize the spousal relationship of members in same-sex marriages.  The primary change for TMRS members in a same-sex marriage will be that, since the marriage is now recognized, the member’s benefits and beneficiary designations are now subject to the same restrictions as currently apply to a member in an opposite-sex marriage.  For example, a vested married member must obtain their spouse’s consent to designate a beneficiary other than their spouse or to select a benefit payment option other than a joint and survivor annuity that names the spouse as the survivor.

Sincerely,
Christine M. Sweeney
General Counsel
Texas Municipal Retirement System

—  David Taffet

OOPS: DPS not DMV

Hanson.BridgetThank you to Wendy Cook of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles for pointing out a mistake we made. She said it’s a common mistake.

The Department of Public Safety issues driver’s licenses. The Department of Motor Vehicles registers cars.

In a story about a couple that moved to Texas and applied for driver’s licenses in their married name and in the follow-up after Texas became a marriage equality state a week later, I said they went to the DMV. They went to the DPS. It clearly says Texas Department of Public Safety on the picture of the driver’s license.

According to my source about the couple’s experience in Illinois, it’s the DMV in that state that issues driver’s licenses.

It’s corrected in the original stories and this is more of a thank you to Wendy for being so nice and for pointing that out.

—  David Taffet

Karma’s a bitch, Ken Paxton

Rep. Ken PaxtonA special prosecutor is asking for first degree felony charges to be filed against Attorney General Ken Paxton, according to a story in The Dallas Morning News.

Earlier this week, Paxton assured county clerks who didn’t want to issue same-sex wedding licenses that he’d help them seek pro bono legal representation when personal damage lawsuits are filed against them. County clerks shouldn’t count on his help because he’ll apparently need all that legal help himself.

Before being elected to office, Paxton admitted he broke state securities laws and was fined $1,000. Without being a registered with the state, he solicited investment clients for a friend while serving as a state representative from Collin County. That led Collin County prosecutors to continue the investigation.

Two grand juries will be seated in Collin County next week. Charges could be considered at that time. If charged and convicted of a first degree felony, he would be sentenced to 5 to 99 years in prison and could receive a $10,000 fine.

—  David Taffet

Alabama hasn’t been happy this week

U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade

U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade

Alabama hasn’t been happy this week and its Supreme Court chief justice seems to think U.S. Supreme court rulings can be appealed. They can’t. Or don’t apply to him. They do.

U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade, the judge that declared Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, issued an order today directing all Alabama probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The order requires immediate compliance.

A violation of Granade’s order could result in a county probate judge being held liable for contempt of court, attorneys’ fees, financial penalties and any other remedies the court deems proper.

In today’s order, Judge Granade stated:

Although most of Alabama’s county probate judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, some are not. The National Center for Lesbian Rights. ACLU of Alabama, Southern Poverty Law Center and Americans United who represented plaintiffs in the original case asked the judge to confirm that her order is now in effect.

—  David Taffet